by Mitchell Wood (Twitter: @Mitchell_Woody)
BORONIA’S Dean Grice has won his fourth Paul Edie Medal (the EFL Division 3 senior Best and Fairest) in convincing fashion on Friday night at the Chandler Medal.
He becomes only the third player in EFL history to win four or more senior Best and Fairest medals after previously winning in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He joins Russell Stratton (Doncaster East – four medals) and Matt Price (Coldstream – six medals).
Grice was a product of consistency this season – polling in 14 of his 18 games. Amazingly, he was awarded the maximum of three votes in eight of those games.
The Hawks champion finished on a staggering 32 votes, eight clear of second-placed Doncaster’s Chris Annakis (24) and 10 clear of equal third place: The Basin’s Trevor Mills and Wantirna South’s Andrew Teakel (22).
After an injury-riddled season with Port Melbourne in the VFL last season, Grice returned to Tormore Reserve to help the Hawks push for premiership success in Division 3.
The classy midfielder played in all 20 games, kicked 22 goals and was named in the best an astonishing 14 times. His strong form during the home and away season carried into the finals, with two clinical performances in Boronia’s losses to Wantirna South and Mitcham.
He is an elite athlete, who works tremendously hard for his possessions and can also be very lively around the goals.
Grice was ‘lost for words’ in his acceptance speech.
While acknowledging his remarkable feat, he just ultimately wants to win a premiership with his Hawks teammates.
‘Individual medals are great, but all I want – and that’s the only reason I’m back at Boronia – is to play in a premiership,’ Grice adamantly said.
Although Boronia exited the finals in straight sets after finishing third on the ladder, Grice is eager to achieve his premiership dream next season.
‘We failed miserably this year, so hopefully we can get there next year,’ Grice said.
The Hawks will need Grice to duplicate his stellar form from this year if they hope to turn their premiership ambitions into a reality in 2014.
His outstanding efforts also saw him earn a place in the SEN Division 3 Team of the Year (ruck-rover), along with teammates Jess Bolton (back pocket) and Jess Moore (interchange).
At just 26, Grice has a lot of time to equal, or better, Price’s extraordinary record of six senior Best and Fairest Medals.