E-M moment of the year - Aidyn Johnson
Adelaide Oval. 43,120 screaming fans. On debut.
19-year-old Aidyn Johnson must have been as nervous as it gets, after a late call-up to make his AFL debut for Port Adelaide.
The former Moama player seized his moment however early in the game, gathering and goaling with his first kick in the league, to the roar of the adoring crowd.
As if the moment wasn’t already perfect enough, the youngster jumped in celebration into the arms of Echuca’s Ollie Wines, who lifted him into the air in excitement.
Comeback of the year - Rochester United (GMC grand final)
A simply remarkable win from a team with no right to win from the position it was in.
Set a target of 130 to win the Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade grand final, Rochester United was on the ropes in multiple spots — 3/2 then 8/78, and especially at 9/108.
It just seemed inevitable Kyabram Fire Brigade would take that final wicket and claim the flag — United had zero room for error.
But Kyabram couldn’t break a spirited fight from Sean Williams — he played the innings of his life, an unbeaten 45, to carry his side past the total and pull off a crazy comeback.
No team this year defied its position in a game like United did.
Consistent excellence - Simon Buckley and Rhys Archard
The word ‘star’ is never more fitting in Echuca-Moama than when talking of either of these two.
2017 was a banner year for both, picking up league best and fairest awards (Buckley’s second Morrison Medal and Archard’s second O’Dwyer).
Archard won his medal playing for a finals-bound team, but for a second straight year Buckley won despite his team’s losing record.
It’s hard to quantify just how important both these guns are for their respective clubs.
Weirdest moment of the year - The Mistress announced as Southern 80 winners
This one is certainly funny in hindsight, but was complete chaos at the time.
Southern 80 officials announced The Mistress as winners of a second consecutive Superclass crown, and the celebrations began.
There were hugs all around and tears of joy and for 10, maybe 15 minutes it was champion.
But from nowhere, specifically 16th in the starting order, Merc Force flew home to steal the win.
The celebrations stopped in an instant - and started for the new winners.
Chaotic is the only word to describe it.