On his own Merrett! Jackson Merrett wins the 24th Tuckey Medal

Sunday, October 11, 2020 - 1:49 PM by Owen Davies

Jackson Merrett is the winner of the 24th Tuckey Medal and the 17th unique winner of the club’s most prestigious award, polling 47 votes to win from Josh Bootsma (41 votes) and Captain Ben Howlett (37 votes) on Friday Night.

Merrett originally from Cobden a town 200km south west of Melbourne played his TAC Cup footy for the Geelong Falcons before getting drafted by Essendon with the 31st overall pick in the 2011 National Draft. 

Merrett the older brother of Essendon’s Zach, was de-listed at the end of 2018 after playing 56 games over seven seasons at the Dons. Close friend from his time at the Bombers Ben Howlett convinced him to make the switch across the country and he has since played every game in the past two seasons at the Thunder.

An outside wingman, known for his superb ball use and running ability was the Thunder’s lone representative in the 2020 WAFL Team of the Year, in a season in which he averaged 23 disposals and provided on-field leadership to the younger players in a tough winless season.

Senior Coach Cameron Shepherd was impressed with Merrett’s play throughout the season and said the honour was well deserved.

“Jacko has performed consistently at a high standard in 2020. His ability to read the play and provide an outlet as well as his ball use provided our team with many opportunities.” 

“He has also been part of a fine leadership group that has mentored many of our young players and his example and preparation will be appreciated by many of the young guys in the playing group. He is a worthy recipient of the best and fairest and I congratulate him.” He said.

Merrett made note that while it was a tough season and at times, he can place high expectations on his teammates he is has these high standards to ensure the club continues to improve.

“I can be hard to handle at times. I can be hot headed, but I just want what’s best for the team, I’m driven by success and take it with a grain of salt as I just want to get better and I want you guys to improve and strive for the best” Merrett said.

Club legend Hayden Ballantyne kicked the most goals for the side in 2020, with Michael Randall honoured with the Arthur Marshall Memorial award for the best young player. Jordan Boullineau picked up the award as the Most Consistent and Blair Bell was awarded the ‘Thor’ trademark award.

The Dave Cameron Memorial Medal for the Colts Best & Fairest went to David Yaccob after a sensational season across half back that earned him a call up to the WAFL 18’s All Stars and a place in the Colts Team of the Year and hopefully increasing level of interest with National recruiters for this years Draft. 

Bodie Kitchingman returned from a broken arm in 2019 to have an excellent 2020 playing through the midfield and was unlucky to miss out on other League honours.

Jack Walsh was awarded with the Encouragement Award, with leaders Tyler Nesbitt and Isiah Winder both taking home the Most Consistent and Players Player Awards respectively. Nesbitt and Winder both lined up in the WAFL Talent All Star game on Saturday. With Isiah the lone Thunder player to take part in this year’s Draft Combine last week. Dominic Dravitzki was awarded the Best First Year award.

Finally a couple of club stalwarts Ron Taggart and Geoff Campbell were awarded the 18th and 19th Life Memberships of the club for their services over the past 24 years. Womens Football Manager Rachael Hayes, Colts Team Manager Tim Overington and Jamie Jones were all honoured as the WAFLW, Colts and League Volunteers of the Year, with Rachael Hayes awarded the Club's overall Volunteer of the Year Award.