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Sandringham Best & Fairest Preview

Justin Cooper  September 14, 2017 12:27 PM

St Kilda rookie Nick O'Kearney produced an ultra consistent season at Sandringham in his second year at Linen House Centre.

St Kilda rookie Nick O'Kearney produced an ultra consistent season at Sandringham in his second year at Linen House Centre.

A handful of Saints will jostle for Sandringham’s best and fairest award this Friday night, with rookie pair Nick O'Kearney and Rowan Marshall, young midfielder Nathan Freeman and father-son recruit Bailey Rice all set to feature prominently. 

Former Saint Cameron Shenton took out last year’s Neil Bencraft medal ahead of current Zebra Kade Answerth, Eli Templeton and Jack Sinclair.

Shenton became the first St Kilda-listed player to win the Zebras’ most prestigious award since current skipper Tom Curren in 2012 and that trend could very well continue for a second successive season.

Below is a profile of the St Kilda-listed regulars who should poll well at Sandringham’s night of nights:

Rowan Marshall

VFL Stats: 16 games, 22 goals
Season averages: 14 disposals, five marks, four tackles

It was an outstanding first season for the ex-Ballarat big man who excelled at either end of the ground but looked at home in the Sandringham attack. He earned his AFL debut in Round 18 after being elevated off the rookie list.

Nick O’Kearney

VFL Stats: 18 games, six goals
Season averages: 26 disposals, five marks, four tackles

The second-year Saint produced his best and most consistent season at VFL level, continuously pressing for an AFL debut. The 20-year-old relishes winning the hard ball and spent plenty of time in the centre square across his 18 games.

Bailey Rice

VFL Stats: 16 games, two goals
Season averages: 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles

Despite playing two games less than his first year in 2016, the second-year defender thrived under the tutelage of Sandringham coach Lindsay Gilbee. Strong one-on-one, the 20-year-old Rice got more of the ball and impressed with his rebound work out of the back half.


Jack Lonie

VFL Stats: nine games, 12 goals
Season averages: 25 disposals, four marks, four tackles

A class above at VFL level, the 21-year-old Lonie often dominated for Sandringham and putting his hand up for AFL selection. Despite just the nine VFL games, Lonie will poll well on Friday night.

Tom Hickey

VFL Stats: 10 games, three goals
Season averages: 17 disposals, four marks, three tackles, 31 hit outs

Proved to be a frustrating season for the 26-year-old ruckman who battled injury and form throughout 2017. He only played 10 VFL games but finished the year in solid form so could be a surprise to poll well.

Nathan Freeman

VFL Stats: 13 games, two goals
Season averages: 19 disposals, three marks, four tackles

A very positive year in the career of Freeman, who has battled constant injuries. He put together a string of games at VFL level to be the most he’s played to date. Expect the 22-year-old to poll well early.