By Sam Watson

WONTHAGGI Power young gun, James Lewis topped a scintillating vote count for the Gippsland League Under 16s league best and fairest last week.

Heading into the eleventh and final round on the YouTube livestream, Lewis sat atop the leader board on 16 votes, but Traralgon’s Joshua Hamilton and Warragul’s Lane Ward weren’t far behind on 15 and 14 votes respectively.

Ward received three votes in Warragul’s match against Moe, temporarily putting him in first place, but Hamilton also scored three votes putting him in front of Ward and Lewis.

However, there was still one more game to be read out, Drouin vs Wonthaggi which Drouin won by 34 points.

Lewis needed two votes to tie for first place or three to win outright, but he might’ve thought the loss and the fact that his teammate Jarvis Harvey kicked seven meant he wasn’t in contention.

One vote went to Drouin’s Thomas Cornwall, two votes went to Harvey and as onlookers held their breath, up came “J. Lewis – 3 Votes” putting the Wonthaggi star on top of the leader board.

It’s a superb effort for the young midfielder, especially being a bottom age player with one more year left in the under 16s.

And anyone who can win a league best and fairest with their side winning just three out of 11 games is clearly a special talent.

Wonthaggi Under 16s coach Darren Brown said it was an extremely well-deserved award for one of the hardest workers in his team.

“James’ competitiveness and commitment to the contest is outstanding,” Browns said.

“He’s got speed to burn, magnificent skill level and most of all he’s a ripping kid who is developing well under the Wonthaggi Power Junior and Youth Football Program.

“The future looks bright.”

Lewis started his career at Kilcunda Bass where he played a key role in their 2017 under 12s premiership win against Wonthaggi Power.

A year later he made the move to Wonthaggi where he played in the Under 14s grand final win against Korumburra Bena, still having an impact despite still being eligible for the under 12s.

And a year later he won another flag in the under 14s for Wonthaggi, when they held off Inverloch Kongwak by five points, making it three premierships in a row for Lewis.

Last year Lewis played a couple of games for Phillip Island in the Under 14s being judged best man afield in both games, but unfortunately COVID-19 restrictions meant he couldn’t go for a fourth flag in a row.

Thankfully for the Power he returned in 2021 and instantly made a huge impact in the Under 16s.

He even played two games in the Under 18s where he more than held his own, being named the best in one game and kicking a goal in the other.

He’s certainly become accustomed to premiership success, so he’ll be hoping to lead his side to some in 2022, and after that, a taste of senior football may not be too far away.