BEN Taylor’s strong showings for the Swifts throughout the season were recognised on Monday night when he was adjudged best opposition player.
After each game during the regular season club award votes to the top three players from the opposing side with Taylor’s play earning him 30 votes from his 17 matches.
Taylor said the award meant a fair bit to him in his second season of senior football with the Swifts.
“I’m fairly new to the league so to be able to come in, play some pretty consistent footy and be recognised for that does mean a lot,” he said.
Taylor was tasked with playing a bigger role through the midfield due to the injury of 2017 Dellar medallist and Swifts senior coach Scott Carey.
“He’s obviously a really good player and I had to take the reins a little bit more through the midfield,” he said.
“I feel I was definitely ready for the challenge when it arose and took it on with both hands.”
Taylor also attracted 12 votes in the race for this season’s Dellar medal. It placed him just in side the top 10 along with Natimuk United’s Jayden Stiles, Noradjuha-Quantong’s Dustin Cross and Rupanyup’s Elliot Kelly.
The Swifts were knocked out in an extra-time loss in the first week of finals by Edenhope-Apsley after finishing the home and away season fifth.
“That’s left us a little bit unsatisfied with the season and I think we’ll be pushing for bigger things into 2019,” Taylor said.
As well as taking out the night’s top prize Harrow-Balmoral’s Nick Pekin was also recognised as the AFL Wimmera-Mallee senior coach of the year.
In his first year at the helm of the club he guided the side to the minor premiership. The club will be represented in the senior and reserves grand finals at Horsham City Oval on Saturday.
“They’re a good bunch of blokes down there,” he said.
“It’s not only through the seniors but the whole squad of about 60 we have is really good to work with.”
Pekin joined the club as an assistant coach in 2017 and had previous experience in a senior coaching role at the Horsham Demons alongside Brad Hartigan in 2015 and 2016.
He said that made it easier for him to take the reins this season of his club as well as the league’s representative side.
“That certainly helped and I was also able to learn a lot from Stuart Farr over the course of my journey as well,” he said.
Farr and Pekin will coach against each under in the grand final.
“It’s going to be good going head-to-head with him this weekend,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”