WILL THE REAL ‘MVP’ PLEASE STAND UP!!!!
After a very hotly contested regular season, we paused for a weekend to enjoy the AFL and NRL Grand Finals plus the Awards Ceremonies earlier in the week. Dustin Martin took out the AFL Brownlow Medal while Melbourne Storm Captain Cameron Smith took out the Dally M.
So who will be the MVP for Gridiron Victoria Division 2?
Let’s take a look at the players vying for Most Valuable Player for Season 2017.
Ben Norton – #24 WR/RB (Northern Raiders)
One of the most damaging performers of the year with at least 1 TD in every game he played. He did miss a few games during the year so who knows what his stats might have been. He played a huge role in helping the Raiders become the highest scoring offence in the Division.
Season Stats – 9 Games, 643yd’s rushing 11 TD’s, 896 yd’s Receiving 5 TD’s.
Jesse Spiropoulos – #10 RB (Northern Raiders)
After a quiet start to the year, he played a huge part in the Raiders dominant running game averaging over 100yds a game. An old knee injury forced him to miss the last couple of games.
Season Stats – 9 Games, 927yd’s Rushing 10 TDs, 229yd’s Receiving.
Coach Joshua Faure on Ben Norton and Jesse Spiropoulos – “Both Jesse and Ben have been explosive players but always seemed to take game time and snaps off each other. This season they’ve come together to be the best RB duo in the league and are at the forefront of the #1 scoring Offense. Ben is the more accomplished pass catcher and Jesse being a more explosive scat back. Their competitiveness is what pushes the other to be better, but like all good teammates they truly like to see the other succeed.”
Matthew Krul – #7 QB (Melton Wolves)
After winning the VGOA award (Best and Fairest voted by the Referees) last season playing on both sides of the ball, Krul concentrated on playing QB 99.9% of the time this year. His rushing stats far out way his passing stats but he was dangerous either way. Really hard to sack (7) or stop for a loss. Delivered countless stiff arms on defenders. All this with a broken bone in his throwing hand since week 9.
Season Stats – 12 Games, 682yd’s Passing 12 TD’s, 5 INT’s, 908yd’s Rushing 18 TD’s.
Assistant Offensive Coordinator Brad Baker on Matthew Krul – “He is the leader of not only our offence but our team. He has been the team captain for both years of the Wolves existence. He is not only our Quarterback, but he is always in the coach’s ears that he is ready to go in on Defence and Special teams if required. He would be a quad threat quarterback if needed by the team, Quarterback, Defensive End, Punter, and Special teams gunner. He is the epitome of a team player.
In his primary position as Quarterback, he is one of the best in Gridiron Victoria Div 2 Football. He has the strength in his arm to put the ball almost anywhere it is required for his receivers, although this hasn’t really been showcased this season as a lot of the Wolves offence is again consisting of rookie players both at receiver and running back. When he is hurried out of the pocket he has the strength and speed in his legs to gain yards down the field and use his very effective stiff arm to fend off defenders, he would also have to be one of the most elusive (some would say slippery) players within Gridiron Victoria. He has some amazing stats so far this season through 12 Games, Passing- 682yds 12 TD’s, 908yds rushing for 18 TD’s. He has only been sacked 7 times and thrown 5 picks. There have been some that have said “He’s not that good”, I for one disagree.”
Richard Truong – #29 QB (Monash Barbarians)
One of the most elusive and quickest QB’s in the Division. Hard to contain his outside run and very hard to sack or tackle for a loss. Easily the key to the Barbarians game plan. Didn’t score as much as other candidates but definitely racked up the rushing yards and kept drives alive.
Season Stats – 12 Games, 6 Passing TD’s, 3 Rushing TD’s. NO STATS FOR YARDS.
Head Coach Daniel Sanderson on Richard Truong – “Richie performed pretty well considering he came into the season as a developmental project when we lost our starting QB before game 1 he was thrown into the deep end. He’s learnt a lot and we are fortunate he possesses some intangibles like the ability to scramble that have added something new to our offence. He’ll only get better as he learns to trust protection at times, learns to run out of bounds and sort of grows out of his former defensive player mentality to try and thump everyone, when the team really needs him to stay intact.”
Eddie Carey – #81 WR/FS (Ballarat Falcons)
A solid start to the season on both sides of the ball slowly declined midway then picked up the pace in the last part of the season. His highlights were 2 x 80+yd fumble recovery returns for Touchdowns. The fact he played on both sides of the ball may play into his favour.
Season Stats – 12 Games, 490yd’s Receiving, 7 TD’s, 5 Forced Fumbles, 4 Fumble Recoveries, 2 Defensive TD’s, 3 INT’s.
James Stephens – #20 QB (Ballarat Falcons)
An outstanding start to the season by the Rookie Quarterback from the Falcons, racking up 1000yd’s very early after a 4-1 start. After a bit of a decline towards the end and a Falcon losing streak, he might not win the MVP but he is definitely in the running for Offensive Rookie Of The Year.
Season Stats – 12 games, 2000yd’s Passing 19 TD’s, 13 INT’s, 1 Rushing TD.
Team mate Eddie Carey on James Stephens – “James came into the season an untested rookie with a lot of potential. With a seemingly natural ability to sling the ball and with a mind intrigued by football his improvement came without surprise. Quick reads and an accurate throw made James the steady head of the Falcons Offense. A true leader on and off the field James was an integral part of the Falcons.”
As good as a defensive player might be we all know that they never win the season MVP award.
Victor Utumapu – #7 LB/RB (Northern Raiders)
Probably the best LB in the division delivering hard hits on RB’s, QB’s and WR’s. Had a couple of games as RB and performed very well. A tackling machine.
Season Stats – 8 games, 3 sacks, 91 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 7 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble recoveries, 2 INT’s, 383yds Rushing.
Head Coach Joshua Faure on Victor Utumapu – “Victor has always been known as a big hitter but he came back this season a little lighter and has been able to play and dominate on passing downs now. He’s also dedicated himself to understanding the playbook and his responsibilities. Allowing him to be the centrepiece of the best scoring defence in Division 2.”
Christian Cinel – #31 FS (Western Crusaders)
The rookie had an outstanding year performing very well on Defense and Special Teams. Never seemed to miss a tackle and was easily the Crusaders most influential player. Will be the hot favourite for Defensive Rookie Of The Year.
Season Stats – None available
Dave Parker – #69 DE (Ballarat Falcons)
An unstoppable force on the Defensive Line always playing to the whistle. Accused of crossing the line on occasion but you can’t fault his passion.
Season Stats – 12 games, 10 sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles, 75 tackles, 8 tackles for loss.