Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 8:48 PM by Chris Pike

PROLIFIC midfielder Shane Nelson has cemented himself as an all-time great of the West Perth Football Club winning the Breckler Medal as the fairest and best for a third time at a glittering awards night at Joondalup Resort.

It was a historic night for the West Perth Football Club with not only the celebration of the 2017 WAFL season with the Falcons' league, reserves and colts award winners, but also the introduction of the women's team awards with winners announced from the league, reserves and Youth Girls teams in the Mundella WA Women's Football League.

In the end, the major awards on the night were taken out by Nelson (league fairest and best), Conal Lynch (reserves), Dylan Yem (colts), Laura Pugh (women's league), Ruby Cunningham (women's reserves) and Dana Mullumby (Rogers Cup).

It was a tremendous night to celebrate the 2017 season at West Perth that saw the league team reach the finals once again while the reserves won six games with a host of young players developing for the future and the colts won eight games with some exciting signs.

Meanwhile in the WAWFL, West Perth's league side narrowly missed finals finishing with a 6-8 record while the reserves scored the one victory and the Youth Girls Rogers Cup team did well to end up with a 4-9 record.

The main event of the evening was the Breckler Medal count to crown the West Perth 2017 fairest and best winner and for the third time it was Shane Nelson who claimed the honour.

The clearance machine, prolific ball-winner and remarkably consistent midfielder had a brilliant season for the Falcons averaging 33.2 possessions a game. It was his consistency that stood out the most with his season-high coming in Round 18 against Perth of 51 disposals.

But his season-low was 16 possessions against Subiaco in Round 15 while only twice did he collect below 20 touches. In his other 18 games for the season, Nelson topped the 30-disposal mark another eight times and reached over 40 on four occasions.

All in all, 17 of his 20 games during the home and away season saw him finish with 28 possessions or more proving himself the best natural ball-winner in the league. He left nothing behind in the elimination final loss to Swan Districts either collecting 36 possessions to finish the season with 700 touches.

That ended up seeing Nelson win the Breckler Medal for the third time going with his wins in the premiership year of 2013 and a year later in 2014.

By becoming a triple Breckler Medal winner, Nelson joins fellow three-time fairest and best winners at West Perth John Loughridge, Bill Valli, Peter Menaglio, Steve Trewhella, Kim Rigoll and Dion Fleay. He sits only behind nine-time winner Mel Whinnen, five-time winner Ray Schofield and four-time recipient Terence O'Keeffe.

It was a big year also for Nelson who celebrated his 100th game against Peel Thunder in a memorable Round 5 victory at Bendigo Bank Stadium. He also played in the historic WAFL state game victory in Melbourne over the VFL and was named to the Team of the Year.

Despite Nelson's brilliant season, it was a tight count in the Breckler Medal with him winning just ahead of 2015 winner Aaron Black.

The 2014 Sandover Medallist and 2015 Breckler Medallist had another superb season for the Falcons averaging 28.7 disposals a game splitting his time between playing both on the wing and as an inside midfielder.

Along the way during 2017, Black earned life membership at West Perth by reaching his 150th game, was part of the winning WA state team against Victoria and was also part of the Team of the Year.

Making up the top three positions was Luke Meadows who received the Ken Ashdown Memorial Award in recognition of his career-best season. 

Having cemented his spot in 2016 at half-back, he moved into the midfield and had a tremendous impact right throughout 2017 and that was reflected in third-placing in fairest and best voting.

Not only that, but Meadows took home the City of Joondalup Best Clubman Award, the Players' Player Award and Carbone/De Vita Award.

Another man who had a career-best season was Kody Manning with the renowned hard man finishing fourth in fairest and best voting to claim the Past Players' Award.

Manning also won the coveted Wayne Dayman Courage Award following a 2017 season that allowed him to stay on the park and have a tremendous impact in defensive roles down back, setting up play out of defence, running and carrying the ball, spending stints in the middle, and through the inspiration he provides with his attack on the ball and opposition.

He also celebrated his 100th game along the way during 2017 while being part of the victorious WAFL state team and being named in the Team of the Year.

Tyler Keitel received the Ray Scott Memorial Award as the leading goalkicker having kicked 46 goals cementing himself as a leading key forward in the competition following an outstanding 2016 as a key defender.

Scott Nelson burst onto the scene as a promising small defender and was presented with the Cardinals Rising Star Award while the League Coaches Award went to Corey Chalmers who also had the best season of his career at league level.

Another player undoubtedly with a bright future is Conal Lynch and he was rewarded for his 2017 season by winning the Roy Ennis Medal as the fairest and best winner in the reserves.

He won just ahead of 2016 winner Mitch Peirce while Kael Coleman finished third and Zac Guadagnin won the Coaches Award.

Dylan Yem had a breakout season in the colts for West Perth in 2017 and he took out the Dominish Medal as the fairest and best winner.


He won ahead of runner-up Nathan Murray while Bailey Chalmers finished third and Tom Medhat claimed the Jack Appleby Trophy as the most promising player. The Award of Excellence went to Tom Boyes while Eamon Gilbert received the PP&O Encouragement Award and Filimone Muavou claimed the Coaches Award.

It was a massive season for the West Perth Football Club with the women's team coming on board and their league, reserves and Youth Girls seasons were celebrated on the night as well.

Laura Pugh claimed the league fairest and best award following her brilliant 2017 WAWFL season with West Perth while Danica Arnold won the Coaches Award.

Ruby Cunningham won the reserves fairest and best with Lucy Haynes taking out the Coaches Award.

And in the Youth Girls Rogers Cup team, Dana Mullumby was the winner of the fairest and best with Scovia Anzoa claiming the Coaches Award.

Gavin Donaldson was the recipient of the Ross McMillan Volunteer of the Year Award.

Breckler Medal (Fairest and Best): Shane Nelson
Runner-up Fairest and Best: Aaron Black
Ken Ashdown Memorial Award (Third Fairest and Best): Luke Meadows
Past Players Award (Fourth Fairest and Best): Kody Manning
Cardinals Rising Star: Scott Nelson
League Coaches Award: Corey Chalmers
City of Joondalup Best Clubman Award: Luke Meadows
Wayne Dayman Courage Award: Kody Manning
Ray Scott Memorial Award (Leading Goalkicker): Tyler Keitel
Players' Player Award: Luke Meadows

Roy Ennis Medal (Fairest and Best): Conal Lynch
Runner-up Fairest and Best: Mitch Peirce
Past Players Award (Third Fairest and Best): Kael Coleman
Reserves Coaches Award: Zac Guadagnin

Dominish Medal (Fairest and Best): Dylan Yem
Rosa Townsend Award (Runner-up Fairest and Best): Nathan Murray
Past Players Award (Third Fairest and Best): Bailey Chalmers
Jack Appleby Trophy (Most Promising): Tom Medhat 
Life Members Award (Award of Excellence): Tom Boyes
Colts Coaches Award: Filimone Muavou
Past Players Encouragement Award: Eamon Gilbert

League Fairest and Best:
Laura Pugh
League Coaches Award: Danica Arnold
Reserves Fairest and Best: Ruby Cunningham
Reserves Coaches Award: Lucy Haynes
Rogers Cup Fairest and Best: Dana Mullumby
Rogers Cup Coaches Award: Scovia Anzoa

Carbone/De Vita Award: Luke Meadows
Ross McMillan Volunteer of the Year: Gavin Donaldson