Falcons hoped to share top medal

Sandover Medal winner Aaron Black with girlfriend Lauren Naven.
Sandover Medal winner Aaron Black with girlfriend Lauren Naven.

And Monday night’s Sandover Medal count added an exclamation point to that fact.

Black, on 47 votes, took the honours by just one from Nelson, who tied with Claremont favourite Luke Blackwell on 46.

Black was ecstatic, but regretted the meagre margin with which he had missed sharing the title of the competition’s best player with one of his best mates.

The 21-year-old recalled Nelson’s reaction after he had won.

‘He came over and gave me a big hug and said ‘congratulations, you deserve it’,’ he said.

‘We would have loved to have shared it because we’ve been mates for a long time.’

Nelson was disappointed, but proud of Black’s effort.

‘When you get that close, you want to win it, but in saying that it was good that Blacky got up,’ he said.

While, of the two, Nelson has been the main focus of AFL talk, the Sandover result has turned the attention to Black.

Recent history shows two other 21-year-old prize winners ” Hayden Ballantyne (2008) and Matt Priddis (2006) ” went on to forge strong professional careers.

It’s an outcome that was not lost on Black, who had not spoken to any AFL clubs but was excited at what might be ahead.

‘Those two guys got picked up after really good years playing WAFL footy and now they’re both very good AFL footballers,’ he said. 

‘You never know, I’ve done everything I can do, so I’d like to think there’d be a little bit (of interest).’

On the other hand, there’s Nelson, whom pundits have touted as an AFL prospect but has endured rejection for the past three seasons. 

This year, the 21-year-old said he was not expecting to hear from any clubs.

‘If it was to happen, I’d probably be like Hutchy (Mark Hutchings) and just get taken and picked up that way,’ he said.

Both premiership players claimed 2014 as their best season of WAFL football.

Black worked hard on his run-and-carry game, with a focus on kicking more goals, aspects he thought contributed to him winning the Sandover.

‘I took the game on a lot more,’ he said. 

‘The more you get it out on the wings’