Mark of success for high-fliers

MATT Hodge could be shooting for more than just goals and a victory over New England Nomads in Armidale today.

Tamworth Kangaroo Rhett Graham (left) chases Narrabri Eagle Dan Nixon. Today the Roos are in Armidale and the Eagles tackle the Saints in Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner 020814GGC03

Tamworth Kangaroo Rhett Graham (left) chases Narrabri Eagle Dan Nixon. Today the Roos are in Armidale and the Eagles tackle the Saints in Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner 020814GGC03

The Tamworth Kangaroo star is also in line for a third Gillies Medal when the Essential Energy-sponsored Tamworth AFL clubs meet in Tamworth tonight to celebrate its 2014 season.

Hodge, when not winning the Gerry Griffiths Medal for top goalkicker, has been winning the TAFL’s best and fairest competition, the Gillies Medal.

Named after former NDL journalist Tony Gillies, Hodge won his first Gillies Medal in 2011 (when he shared with Gunnedah’s Paul Brown) and then last year.

In 2009 Gunnedah’s Sam Naissmith (now with Sydney Swans) shared the Gillies Medal with Peter Heath (Inverell) and Damien Wendt (Swans), Corey Wheeler won it in 2010 and in 2012 it went to Roos young gun Alex Hudson.

Hodge would also become the first player to have won three Gillies Medals.

Damien Wendt has won two (2000 and 2009), Muswellbrook Cats’ Adam white won back-to-back medals in 2003 and 2004 and Tamworth Swan star Lachlan Rowling won the 2005 and 2007 editions.

The Gillies medal is the prestigious award of the season and delivered by 3,2,1 votes from the two umpires at each game.

While they will do a running count tonight, TAFL officials will also present the Gerry Griffiths Medal for top goalkicker.

New England Nomad David Richards, who was second to Alex Hudson in the Gillies Medal two years ago, will win that title easily after a big year of banging home six-pointers. The Sporting Pulse Award is also another major gong, decided on by the coaches of the six clubs and their weekly best six players.

A Rising Star Award is also presented tonight and that will go to the best first or second year player under 25.

A Golden Whistle will also go to the TAFL’s best umpire.

Tonight’s presentation night follows a final round where two of the three games are dead rubbers.

Tamworth Kangaroos can gain some momentum for its minor semifinal at home against Narrabri Eagles next week with a big performance against competition leading New England Nomads in Armidale today.

The Nomads will host the major semi against an Inverell Saints who play Narrabri Eagles in their final round game at No. 1 Oval Tamworth today.

They are the second game of a double header where the Tamworth Swans and Gunnedah Bulldogs play for the wooden spoon.

Tamworth Swans go into the game (1pm kickoff) four points ahead of the Bulldogs but with a lower percentage. A Bulldogs win would enable them to join the Swans on eight points and shed the wooden spoon because of their better percentage.

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