Football: Lehmann best-on-ground for 2011

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Mt Barker stalwart Sam Lehmann is the 2011 Kleemann medallist despite the Bulls finishing last on the ladder, in an exciting vote count at last Thursday’s presentations at Motel Le Grande.

Picture by Laurie Benson: Sam Lehmann with his 2011 Kleemann Medal.

Lehmann polled four best-on-ground honours to win on 19 votes from Denmark-Walpole wingman Leon Wilson (16 votes) and Royals ruckman Kayne Hamilton (15), who missed a month of the season.

The Bulls captain polled just two votes in the final five rounds but had skipped away to an unassailable lead, something that shocked him.

“You think when you only win four games you don’t really give anyone a shot,” Lehmann said.

“We had five or six close games where I got a few votes, compared to previous years when we lost by big margins.”

The umpires awarded Lehmann votes in six of his first 10 matches before a quieter second half of the year.

“This year I sort of got off to a good start but as a team we didn’t play as well in the second half of the year,” he said.

Lehmann, who is from Cranbrook like the distinguished Kleemann family, was humbled by the award.

“It means a lot to win it, being from Cranbrook makes it all the better,” he said.

“Team success is what I would really love now and I want to be a part of it all next year.”

The highly-fancied Mitch Tuffley finished fourth, consistently polling to end on 14 votes.

Lions midfielder David Parker was fifth on 12 votes, while 2010 Kleemann medallist Chris Denney was sixth on 11 votes.

Joint winner with Denney and Kris Ericson last year, Craig Bolton Jr polled just three votes in this year’s count.

Magpies dynamo Jonno Woods was equally as surprised when he was announced the Charlie Punch medallist for the best and fairest player in the reserves, winning on 14 votes ahead of Lions’ Colin Pass (10) and Kangas’ Braden Barber (9).

Denney and Jarrod Whittle won the Great Southern Football League carnival’s fairest and best awards.

Addison Dew was awarded the 2011 umpire of the year at the presentations.

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