By Sam Watson
NICOLA Marriott has won the Hutchison Medal topping the Gippsland League’s A Grade netball vote count last week.
The midcourt marvel is the first Leongatha player to win the award since Andrea Pearce in 2001.
The Parrots have had plenty of second-place finishes since Pearce’s win in 2001, including Marriott in 2017 and 2018.
But Marriott was able to break through and claim the medal in 2021 after another brilliant season playing in centre saw her earn 15 votes.
10 years ago, Marriott claimed the under 17s league best and fairest so it’s safe to say she’s lived up to her potential after coming through the juniors at Leongatha.
And she can now sit comfortably at the family dinner table, with her brother Tom also a senior football league best and fairest winner, taking the award with a mammoth 32 votes in 2018.
It’s a fitting accomplishment for Marriott, after leading her team to a second-place finish with eight wins and two losses.
Moe finished the season in first and in third place was Warragul who was led by former Korumburra Bena champion, Christie Hillberg.
And after coming second in 2019, Hillberg also tied with Marriott this year to add another first-place medal to her jam-packed trophy cabinet.
It was a successful year for the Hillberg family, with Christie’s younger sister and Korumburra Bena coach Kim winning the West Gippsland A Grade league best and fairest award.
Hillberg also won the Gippsland League’s Netball MVP award on 14 votes, which was decided by the home coaches awarding three, two and one votes for the most valuable players in the match.
Marriott came in equal fourth in the MVP with her teammate Lauren Redpath on 12 votes, and Wonthaggi’s Jess McRae finished equal second on 13 votes.
McRae also polled very well in the league vote count finishing just two votes behind Marriott and Hillberg.
And in between them on 14 votes was Leongatha’s Hannah Flanders who had another great year in goals.
The Parrots also had some success earlier in the night with under 13s young gun Lara Cocksedge taking home the league best and fairest in a three-way tie.
And they also claimed the shooting star award for most goals scored in B Grade and C Grade.
In B Grade Kate Sperling made 300 goals for the Parrots and in C Grade Emma Ton successfully shot 225.
Wonthaggi’s Charlie Berry won the award in the under 15s finishing on 324 goals.
In A Grade it was Moe’s Taylin Gourley who won her fourth consecutive shooting star award, putting in a whopping 431 goals in 2021.