The date has been set.
We expect final details for the fistball “night of nights” to follow very soon, so lock it into your calendars.
But first, let’s wax lyrical: who will follow in the footsteps of 2015 winner Jason Beelders to claim the coveted 2016 Klemens ‘Fistols’ Kronsteiner Medal?
With two Best & Fistest notches on his belt from the 2016 season, Lee “The Power Station” Morony will go into the night as hot favourite, looking to add a second Fistols Medal in as many years for the South Melbourne Fistball Club. After a remarkably consistent season for the strong Dimmies outfit, he is understandably a hot favourite with the bookies.
Can 2015 National Team MVP and Bay City Fisters big man Carl “Carlossus” Creasey add the Fistols Medal to his rapidly expanding trophy case? After kicking off the 2016 year with a B&F trophy in the first round, Creasey featured his signature mix of power and good-natured humour throughout the year, and is always popular with the voters. Despite missing most of the final Fistivus while on “daddy duty”, he may already have enough votes in the bag to hold off any late challengers.
Never to be underestimated, Fist Club captain Bryce “Pope” Griesheimer will also surely challenge for the ultimate prize, knowing that it matches nicely with the Roger Willen Shield. Despite not winning a B&F during the season, Pope always attracts votes with his powerful serves and creative play, and will surely be a strong contender.
Fistroy Lions captain Chris “Super Mario” Milne will be hoping to feature high up on the leaderboard as well, after falling just short of the 2015 All VFL First Team on count back. His occasional switch between defense and attack in 2016 paid dividends, in May claiming his first B&F since January 2014, when Klemens himself was in town to present it. With a consistent year under his belt, he will be trying to keep the Fistols Medal a “Defender’s Award”.
Bay City Fisters marital duo Brent “Jellyfist” and Lindsey “The Fistress” Lehmann both claimed individual B&Fs during the year, but would they be willing to share a Fistols Medal? Following on from his World Championships campaign, Bay City captain Jellyfist put in an impressive season, anchoring a formidable backline to help claim 2 Peter Norman trophies on their way to a third place overall finish. The Fistress, on the other hand, punched her way through the metaphorical glass ceiling to become the first Aussie female in VFL history to claim a B&F trophy, a reward for intense national team training in the build up to the Women’s World Championships this past November.
Despite a tough year on the field for the Westside Wombats Fistball Club with their current developmental squad, captain Malcolm “Mr Fister” Donnellon has a history of catching the eye of B&F voters to poll consistent votes, and will surely feature on the leaderboard, if not purely as reward for his array of fast-accumulating trick shots.
While not currently hot favourites with the bookies, other possible smokies include Das Fist FC captain Rolf “Godfister” Petersen, Fistroy veteran Eric “The Dog” Maddocks, fast-improving Fist Clubbers Rod “Inanimate Carbon” Matthews and Michael “Miguel” Neal, Bay City reliables Derek “Dobbo Dobfist” Dobson and Peter “The Duke” Earl, Dimmies utility Jason “Richo” Denholm, captain of the Possums (the national women’s team) and Wombats stalwart Jessie “Lyonheart” Lyon, as well as any one of the 20 (or so) players from FistStorm.
Or, ignoring everything written above, can Jason “Butchers” Beelders simply overcome the odds and possible voter fatigue to claim it a second time?
We’ll find out on January 20th, 2017.