By Nick Creely
A strong contingent of Dandenong Stingrays’ youngsters capped of their impressive individual home-and-away seasons with recognition in the TAC Cup Boys and Girls annual awards last Sunday night.
Haileybury premiership stars Oscar Clavarino and Luke Davies-Uniacke were both named in the TAC Cup’s Team of the Year for outstanding performances in school and Stingray duties throughout the season.
In-form midfielder Hunter Clark – who has relished a chance in the middle after spending the majority of the season off half-back – was also named in the side after a season that has seen him rocket up the AFL draft calculations.
All three are expected to have their names called out in the first 40 come draft night in November.
Other Stingrays such as Riley D’Arcy (third in the competition for goals), Angus Paterson, Mitch Cotter and Bailey Williams were unlucky not to be named in the team after equally strong years.
All four were highly consistent performers while their biggest names were away on representative and school football duties throughout the season, with D’Arcy in particular showing enough to be named in the AFL’s State Combine later this year.
In the night’s most prestigious award, the Morrish Medal – awarded to the competition’s best player of the season – Stingray pair D’Arcy and ruck/forward Tom De Koning both topped the votes for Dandenong with 10, while smoky chance Clark surprisingly polled just the four votes despite seemingly having at least four best afield performances.
Oakleigh Charger Jack Higgins took out the coveted award with 22 votes after a stunning season playing through the midfield and forward line.
Meanwhile, in the TAC Cup Girls awards, Stingray trio Bridie Kennedy, Jordyn Allen and Georgia Gee were awarded for their brilliant seasons with selection in the Team of the Year.
Kennedy also took out the league’s top gong – TAC Cup Girls best-and-fairest- after playing every game and starring in a ruck/defence role for the Stingrays;
She shared the award with Calder Cannons’ midfielder Chloe Molloy.