Tom Gribble topped off a stellar season with his maiden Werribee Football Club Best & Fairest at the recent 2019 Bruce Montgomery Trophy presentation night at Chirnsides by the River.
Last season’s runner up claimed the club’s top honour by two votes just a few weeks after blitzing the field to be crowned this year’s J.J Liston Trophy winner and earning selection in the VFL Team of the Year for a third time.
The prolific midfielder accumulated 67 votes from his 20 matches, with hard-nut Dom Brew running a close second (65), and swingman Nick Coughlan (61) rounding out the top three.
24-year-old Gribble clicked into gear after a quiet opening two rounds, polling 24 votes from the next six matches, setting up a lead he never relinquished despite a late charge from Coughlan and 2009 winner Michael Barlow.
In his fifth season at Avalon Airport Oval following a year with Geelong’s VFL team and time in the Geelong Falcons under-18 program, Gribble took his game to a new level in 2019.
As part of Werribee’s deep and star-studded engine room, Gribble averaged 30 disposals, 15 contested possessions, seven clearances, five tackles and five inside-50s per game, and kicked nine goals.
He was the equal-leading disposal-getter in the VFL (alongside Coburg’s Marcus Lentini), led the competition for inside-50s, and also ranked in the top five players for contested and uncontested possessions, clearances, goal assists and score assists.
Following a frustrating run of injuries, Gribble, a type one Diabetic, hasn’t missed a match in the last three years and will enter 2020 with 93 VFL games to his name.
The club’s night of nights also saw Werribee’s all-time leading goal kicker and Hall of Fame member Kevin Leece elevated to Legend status.
Leece becomes the seventh club Legend to be inducted and joins the elite company of Bruce Montgomery, Greg Anderson, John Comben, David Lyons, Eddie Marriott and Kerryn O’Brien who were all in attendance.
Leece carved out a 111-game career with Werribee between 1971-1981 and to this day holds the club record for goals, 406.
A five-time leading goal kicker, Leece shares the club record of 15 majors in a match with Joskun Aziz, and also booted ten on six occasions.
Leece was severely hampered by chronic knee issues and subsequently wore a heavy leg brace. He rarely completed training and was unable to play week in, week out.
Former teammates Merv Hughes and Bruce Lancaster, and well renowned journalist Mike Sheahan reflected on Kevin Leece the player and person.
The 2019 Bruce Montgomery Trophy presentation night also recognised a host of other standout Werribee contributors both on and off the field.
This year’s VFL rising star (Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medallist) Jake Riccardi took out the leading goal kicker award with 38 majors and also the Best First Year Player in a season that turned heads and has him firmly on AFL radars.
Leadership group member Nick Coughlan elevated his game in 2019 and was voted the Players Player, while popular small forward Matt Munro received the Property and The GORDON Coaches Award.
For their tireless efforts around the club, Jimmy Masterson and Ian Hovey were named joint winners of the Ray Smith Award as the Best Club People in 2019.
2019 Bruce Montgomery Trophy Top 10
1. Tom Gribble (67)
2. Dom Brew (65)
3. Nick Coughlan (61)
4. Matt Munro (58)
5. Jack Henderson (56)
5. Michael Barlow (56)
7. Daniel Nielson (51)
8. Ryan Hebron (48)
9. Jake Riccardi (47)
9. Kye Declase (47
Full Awards List
Werribee FC Hall of Fame – Legend Inductee
CDC Victoria/Pacific Werribee
Community Development Award
Local Player Award
Defensive Player of the Year
Best First Year Player
Leading Goal Kicker
Tackle & Tough – Most Courageous
The GORDON Coaches Award
Mark of the Year
Goal of the Year
AFL Victoria Awards
JJ Liston Trophy: Tom Gribble
Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal: Jake Riccardi
VFL Team of the Year: Gribble, Riccardi, Jack Henderson, Nick Coughlan, Michael Barlow
50 VFL Matches: Daniel Nielson, Timm House, Nick Coughlan
50 Werribee FC Games
Ray Smith Award – Best Club Person