By JESS WEBSTER
The year belonged to star midfielder Jordan Keras as the NEAFL MVP winner shone for Southport, despite the Sharks managing just four wins in a disappointing season for the club
Here is Southport’s season in review.
By the Numbers
Ladder position: 9th
Last year: 7th
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
Top 5 NEAFL MVP votes
78: Jordan Keras (1st overall)
27: Hamish Shepheard
22: Andrew Boston
14: Seb Tape
10: Jack Anthony
Snapshot: Southport was busy over the recruitment period last season which netted former Gold Coast utility Seb Tape, WAFL goalkicking powerhouse Hamish Shepheard, dual QAFL premiership player Josh Baxter and former Aspley ruckman and NEAFL representative ruckman Jed Turner. But a strong list on paper didn’t translate to the field, despite the efforts of NEAFL MVP winner Jordan Keras in the midfield. The Sharks languished at the bottom of the ladder most of the year – briefly challenging the top six when they sat in seventh in Round 15 – before crashing to ninth in the lowest finish to a season in the proud club’s history.
Highlight: It was a case of nothing to lose for Southport when they ventured to Alice Springs to take on NT Thunder in Round 13 in a ninth versus fourth encounter. The Sharks were men on a mission, causing one of the upsets of the season when they led from start to finish for an unlikely 53-point victory. Hamish Shepheard booted six majors and Jordan Keras was dominate with 43 disposals, but it was a clear rise in effort from all 23 players which made the victory memorable.
Lowlight: After winning just one of their first seven matches of the year, the Sharks had turned a tough start to the season around to be within eight points of sixth spot heading into their Round 16 clash with Canberra at UNSW Canberra Oval. It was the last roll of the dice for Southport for a realistic shot at finals, with Canberra sitting one place ahead in seventh. Down by 22 points at quarter-time, Southport crawled to within eight at the 10-minute mark of the third, but that would be as close as they could come. The Demons triumphed by 16 points in arguably Southport’s most disappointing performance of the year given the context.
Star Power: Southport produced their first NEAFL MVP winner in midfielder Jordan Keras, who took the competition by storm with a league-record average of 35 disposals and 10 clearances per match. In addition to Keras, the Sharks also had Seb Tape, Jack Anthony and 2016 best-and-fairest Andrew Boston represent the NEAFL against Tasmania in June, while Hamish Shepheard’s goalkicking feats produced the second-most MVP votes for the Sharks behind Keras.
Next Generation: The Sharks had one Rising Star nominee in Cody Filewood, who suffered a season-ending knee injury halfway through the season. The club debuted the likes of Terry Giacoumis – a Sharks player since under-12s – and QLD U16s representative Connor Budarick, who we’re likely to see plenty more of in the years to come.
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