Brilliant season with South Fremantle rewarded as Pingelly’s Tom Blechynden wins first league fairest and best

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldNarrogin Observer
Tom Blechynden celebrates his medal win with partner Lauren Godwin.
Camera IconTom Blechynden celebrates his medal win with partner Lauren Godwin. Credit: INGOFOTO

Pingelly football star Tom Blechynden has capped a brilliant WAFL season with his first WJ Hughes Medal as South Fremantle’s fairest and best player on October 6.

Blechynden was recognised as the Bulldogs’ fairest and best league player, in a season where he averaged 24.4 disposals and 5.7 tackles across 18 games.

The 23-year-old polled 142 votes in 2023 to claim the prestigious honour from Glenn Byron (131 votes) and Chad Pearson (97).

Tom Blechynden has had an outstanding season for South Fremantle.
Camera IconTom Blechynden had an outstanding season for South Fremantle. Credit: Jack Foley/TheWest

Blechynden played as a junior for Brookton-Pingelly and is a proud Upper Great Southern product who has been in the WAFL system since 2018.

With his proud parents, brother Jack and partner Lauren Godwin in the room, Blechynden said it was a special night.

“It was extremely humbling,” he said.

Glenn Byron and Tom Blechynden.
Camera IconGlenn Byron and Tom Blechynden. Credit: INGOFOTO

“You obviously don’t play for these sorts of awards but to win one is very humbling.

“I obviously have my teammates, coaches and everyone around me to thank for this.”

Despite the Bulldogs having a tough year, Blechynden was a stand-out for his side and also played in the State clash against South Australia in May.

Tom Blechynden during his acceptance speech.
Camera IconTom Blechynden during his acceptance speech. Credit: INGOFOTO

He said taking on a bigger role in the Bulldogs’ midfield was something he had cherished.

“I think its been my best year,” Blechynden said.

“The last three years I have been slowly improving.

WJ Hughes medallist Tom Blechynden.
Camera IconWJ Hughes medallist Tom Blechynden. Credit: INGOFOTO

“This year I had more responsibility with some of the older guys moving on and I guess I enjoyed that bit of pressure on me to perform and contributed to me playing well.

“I have always wanted to play for South Fremantle and only a few years ago I was in the ressies and struggling to get a game of league, so it’s been a cool little journey.”

Boddington’s Jarrod Salmeri won the Warren Medal as the best clubman and in the Bulldogs colts awards Narrogin’s Tyler Rowe was named best first-year player.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails