The only player who tackled the AFL last year is favoured to claim the league’s Morris Medal.
A survey of the coaches had Yarrawonga’s Mark Whiley as the winner on Monday night.
Six believe the classy midfielder will take the top award, while four believe Albury veteran Chris Hyde will snare it.
“I think Whiley will win it, he was sensational when we played them,” North co-coach Clinton Gilson said.
“He racked up a stack of disposals and is the type of player who will attract plenty of votes.”
Whiley has wowed the league since arriving from Carlton, where he played nine games after 12 with Greater Western Sydney.
“He’s been outstanding, he just runs all day and has been great for the club,” Pigeons’ co-coach Damian Sexton said.
There has been a fear that the introduction of the player points system could, potentially, limit the number of players from the AFL.
Unless a player is a junior at the club, a la Albury’s Daniel Cross, he will incur the maximum of six points.
Senior teams are allowed to field only 38 points in a match.
I think Whiley will win it, he was sensational when we played them. He racked up a stack of disposals and is the type of player who will attract plenty of votes.Clinton Gilson
However, the form of Whiley will guarantee clubs at least consider signing players straight from the elite system.
It was something Albury did almost a decade ago when Chris Hyde left Richmond.
Hyde has been a sensational player since joining the Tigers in 2009.
He’s grabbed six premierships in the Tigers’ dominance and will look to join former Wangaratta Rovers’ star Steve Norman with seven flags when the club meets the winner of Sunday’s preliminary final clash between Wangaratta and Yarrawonga.
“I think ‘Hydey’ will win, he’s been super all season,” co-coach Joel Mackie said.
If Hyde claims the Morris Medal, he will become the oldest player to win it since league legend Rob Walker snared the last of his five in 2003.
Walker was 35 years and two months, while Hyde turned 35 last month.
Wodonga’s Jarrod Hodgkin has also featured in the top three of a lot of coaches.
Hodgkin grabbed the headlines when he signed with arch-rival, Wodonga Raiders, as assistant coach next year.
Raiders’ speed machine Brodie Filo, blistering Wangaratta defender Mat Grossman and tigerish Lavington on-baller-cum-forward Marty Brennan are among the predicted bolters.