By ZACHARY GATES
Southport Sharks midfielder Jordan Keras claimed the Doc Mackenzie Medal to ice a sublime 2017 campaign last Friday night.
The 23-year-old took out the club’s best-and-fairest award off the back of a season stamped with collecting the most disposals and clearances per game for a single player in NEAFL history.
The VFL recruit, who also won the esteemed NEAFL MVP Award in August, averaged 35 disposals and 10 clearances a game to establish himself as an elite second-tier on-baller.
Keras also averaged 16 contested possessions a game and saved his best display for Southport’s Round 9 clash with Redland, recording 45 disposals, 23 contested possessions and 13 clearances.
Keras, who finished runner-up to captain Andrew Boston in last year’s Doc Mackenzie Medal, said his preparation was the key to his superb touch this season.
“My preparation was something that really helped me take my footy to the next level,” he said.
“I’m pretty diligent with my training and with the standards I set for myself and for the others around me.
“I always thought I could have an impact at state-league level. I’ve probably been lucky this year in terms of having Nathan Bock as coach. He’s given me that independence as a player and that real confidence to play my own game and that’s shown in my results personally this year.”
Keras, the future brother-in-law of Geelong Cats powerhouse Patrick Dangerfield, ensured the family’s silverware earnings continued in plentiful supply despite ‘Danger’s’ Brownlow ineligibility.
He beat fellow midfielder and former Gold Coast Sun Seb Tape in the Doc Mackenzie Medal voting, while Keras also took home the Wally Fankhauser Award.
The former Werribee and Footscray midfielder joined Southport ahead of the 2016 season, and whether Keras will feature in his third NEAFL season is not set in stone.
But if the Sharks’ star midfielder was to wave goodbye to the NEAFL, he would do so on a high.
“I’ve probably surprised myself a little bit (in producing such a good season),” Keras said.
“It’s been a really good year for me personally. I sometimes wonder how I’ve managed to stay as consistent as possible this year.
“There are many good players that have won the award for Southport in the past and I suppose getting any club’s best-and-fairest is a nice recognition of the hard work you’ve put in throughout the year.
“(Winning these awards is) something that you don’t really think about too much. It’s not something that at the start of the year you’re hoping you win individual accolades.
“(But) when you reflect on the year and you receive those awards you’re very proud to receive them.”
Keras’ stellar season was also acknowledged through selection into the NEAFL representative team which knocked off the Tasmanian State League in Hobart in June.
He was also the only Shark named in the NEAFL Team of the Year.
Defender Nick Crowley was awarded Most Improved, Ryan Pantic was named Most Dedicated Player, and Tape won the Coaches Award.
2017 Southport Award Winners
Doc Mackenzie Medallist – Jordan Keras
Doc Mackenzie Medallist runner-up: Seb Tape
Bill Wood Best Club Person Award: Alan Moroney (NEAFL & Sharks Team Manager)
Ken McDonald Most Dedicated Player Award: Ryan Pantic
Most Improved Player: Nick Crowley
Coaches Award: Seb Tape
Wally Fankhauser Trophy: Jordan Keras
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