by Billy Vickers (Twitter: @Vickers_Billy)
AN already unbelievable year just got even better for the South Croydon Football Club, with Daniel King named as the 2013 Chandler Medallist.
The Bulldogs skipper capped off a great year for the club, becoming the first South Croydon player to win the prestigious award and the first non-Vermont or Noble Park player to claim the prize since 2002.
After polling eight votes in last year’s count, King improved his output markedly this season, polling a dominant 20 votes to finish outright atop as the Best and Fairest player in Division 1.
This year’s count was a close one, with Vermont pair Ryan Mullett and Justin Van Unen tying for second with 18 votes each. Balwyn’s Ryan McMahon slotted in third with 17 votes.
It was King’s three votes in South Croydon’s Round 17 win over Blackburn that pulled him clear, enabling him to seal the EFL’s highest individual honour.
Leading South Croydon to its first ever Division 1 finals series this year, King has had an outstanding season.
Easily recognisable in his trademark long-sleeve jumper, it is easy to see why the classy midfielder, adept at winning the inside ball and just as brilliant in outside play, was a heavy vote puller.
Featuring consistently in the best players throughout the season, and amazingly for five weeks in a row leading into the finals series, King was always going to be a contender for this year’s Chandler.
As captain of the club, King was not only able to take the collective responsibility in leading his players this season, but also able to excel on an individual level.
However his characteristic trait of focusing on the team’s performance, rather than his own, shone through in his acceptance speech.
‘It was a really enjoyable year, the most successful (South Croydon) team in first division and I’m really proud to be a part of it,’ King said.
‘I’ve really enjoyed this year, we did well.’
While King nominated improved fitness as part of the reason for his medal-winning form, he put the rest down to his side’s successful and resurgent year.
‘Everyone can get fitter, but I’m probably not the fittest bloke going around, but that obviously helps. Just winning a lot more games as a group really helps,’ he said.
It was a largely unexpected, yet refreshing, Chandler medalist for 2013.
King, a first XI cricketer at Ringwood and a former second XI Victorian player, has just added another string to his bow.
‘I just love my footy at the moment and I just love playing for South,’ he said.
A brilliant individual performance founded on team success.