Gawler Central gun Charlie Molyneux claimed the coveted Schluter Medal after a thrilling Barossa, Light and Gawler Football Association best and fairest medal count on Monday night.
The champion midfielder finished on 21 votes, just three votes ahead of Willaston’s Tyson Irlam and Freeling key recruit Joshua Hand (18).
There was a four-way tie for third with Angaston’s Tylah Saunders, Freeling’s Adam Cockshell, Kapunda’s Domenico Costanzo and South Gawler’s Jackson Press all finishing eight votes behind the victor, on 13.
Molyneux, who would have preferred to go without all of the attention, said the Schluter was certainly a surprise given he only played 10 games for the season.
“Because I missed so many games I didn’t expect it,” he said. “It was one of my better years, but that’s footy isn’t it?”
Molyneux is that good he even has his own “myth” about where he’s come from and where his achievement-filled career started.
Many believe he grew up on the Yorke Peninsula, starting out at Stansbury where his father played.
“Nowhere on the Yorke, that’s a myth… my family grew up on the Yorke, but we moved to Adelaide,” Molyneux said.
Originally playing for Salisbury West, he made the switch to Gawler Central as a 15-year-old.
Molyneux played a handful of senior games with Central District in 2011 and spent two years with the Kilburn Chicks in Amateur league, playing in a flag and representing SAAFL in 2012.
The 25-year-old played a key role in the Tigers premiership win over South Gawler in 2014 and was consequently picked up by the Adelaide Crows as a top-up player the following year.
He was awarded the “Barracker – Barossa Surf” senior colt footballer of the year in 2008-09, the only player to achieve that accolade twice.
Molyneux polled votes in all but two of the matches he played, including five best afield performances.
He jumped out of the blocks, polling in the first four matches and led by three votes at round 10.
However, not playing the next five matches allowed Irlam to snatch the lead, ahead by two votes with just three rounds remaining to set up a stellar finish.
Molyneux polled votes in the last three rounds, including two best on ground performances, to secure illustrious award with a match still to count.
He’s the third Tiger to win the Schluter in four seasons, after Danny Stanley was awarded the accolade in 2014 and Jason Blakemore claimed it the following year.
“(Gawler Central) is certainly a home away from home – it makes it easy playing footy there when you enjoy being there,” Molyneux said.
Last year’s winner Nicholas Schmidt had to compete with some tough competition in his Magpies teammates, claiming just two votes this season.
Molyneux can now claim bragging rights over his father, a great footballer who never won a league best and fairest.
However, he added he would trade the medal for one thing.
“He’s got five premierships though – they’re better than this I would’ve thought… premierships are the highlight,” Molyneux said.