WILLIAMSTOWN'S breakout intercept defender Charlie Dean has overcome a crack field to win the VFL's Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal on Thursday night.
Dean, 19, is now an excellent chance of hearing his name called in the NAB AFL Draft on November 24-25
The past 14 winners (and 22 overall) of the medal named after Des Fothergill, Barry Round and Sam Mitchell – the three men who won the Liston-Brownlow double – went on to be drafted, with Kane Lambert (Richmond) and Michael Hibberd and Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne) becoming AFL premiership players.
While Dean obviously dreams of an AFL call-up, he knows the fall-back option of remaining a Seagull is not a bad consolation prize.
The former Sandringham averaged 15.1 disposals and 7.3 marks across nine games in his debut VFL season, including 20 disposals and eight marks against Sandringham and 11 marks against Port Melbourne.
He beat a hot field to the award including Werribee full-forward Hudson Garoni, Frankston star Mitch Cox and Coburg guns Charlie Thompson and Marcus Lentini, as he prepares for the NAB AFL Draft Combine later this this month.
While Dean named Fritsch as a past winner who has gone on to bigger and better things with his six-goal Toyota AFL Grand Final heroics last week, he was also proud to join another name closer to home on the honour board and hoped it did bring him his ultimate goal next month.
“It’s an honour to receive it – going into this year it was something I hadn’t heard of, but I know the likes of Adam Marcon, who is a legend at our club, has won it and a few other pretty handy footballers, including someone who played pretty well in the Grand Final has won it, so it’s nice to have those names behind it,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to speak to a few (AFL) clubs, but I also did the same thing in my NAB League year and I’m fully aware there are no givens, so I will take the Combine as it comes – and I’ve been training pretty hard for it.
“In terms of footy this year I’ve done what I can and now I’ve got to sit back and enjoy the ride … and worst case I’m back at Williamstown, which is a pretty good club in my eyes. There’s no lose in this situation, but obviously the dream is to play AFL and I’m super pumped for the Combine.”
Dean credited a good relationship with former Williamstown coach Andy Collins with getting him to the Seagulls and said new coach Justin Plapp and a couple of other defensive recruits had helped him develop his game to the brink of AFL footy.
“Growing up I played junior football for South Melbourne (Districts) with Tom Collins, who is Andy Collins’ son, so I had a great relationship with ‘Collo’ and speaking to him after my under-18s year, (signing with Williamstown) was a no-brainer in the end,” he said.
“I watched Williamstown while I was growing up and I knew their success and I wanted to be part of a team that plays finals every year – and they’ve had a good run of drafting players as well, so it ticked all the boxes in terms of culture and success.
“In my early years I played behind the ball and I think I can read the ball pretty well. At the end of my 18s year I swapped to defence but I didn’t have a really good run at it, but this year ‘Plappy’ saw something in me playing in defence, so I started there in pre-season.
“I can’t thank Jack Leslie and Harry Macreadie enough for developing me, I played a few good games and it has stuck since … I’ve really enjoyed it.”
2021: Charlie Dean (Williamstown)
2019: Jake Riccardi (Werribee)
2018: Josh Corbett (Werribee)
2017: Bayley Fritsch (Casey)
2016: Luke Ryan (Coburg)
2015: Adam Marcon (Williamstown)
2014: Nic Newman (Frankston)
2013: Kane Lambert (Northern Blues)
2012: Dean Towers (North Ballarat)
2011: Ahmed Saad (Northern Bullants)
2010: Michael Hibberd (Frankston)
2009: Michael Barlow (Werribee)
2008: Robin Nahas (Port Melbourne)
2007: Shane Valenti (Sandringham)
2006: Jason Davenport (Geelong)
2005: Jackson Barling (Williamstown)
2004: Adam Fisher (Sandringham)
2003: Aaron Davey (Port Melbourne)
2002: Michael Firrito (Box Hill Hawks)
2001: Kristian DePasquale (Coburg)
2000: Michael Swan (Port Melbourne)
1999: Mark Passador (Springvale)
1998: Andrew Shipp (Springvale)
1997: James Puli (Werribee)
1996: Paul Dooley (Williamstown)
1995: Mark Porter (Coburg)
1994: Bruce Cohen (Box Hill)
1993: Adam Williams (Sandringham)
1992: Julian Shanks (Williamstown)
1991: Ron De Iulio (Box Hill)
1990: Mathew Quirk (Oakleigh)
1989: Chris Owen (Preston)