Looking back in HFNL History

This weekend I start looking into the history of some of the Hampden League’s annual awards starting with our senior football league best and fairest – The Maskell Medal.

After its formation in 1930, the Hampden League was going for 7 years before the introduction of a League best and fairest type award. In 1937 the Regan Cup was introduced and awarded by the League to the fairest and best player. The Regan Cup remained until the HFL went into recess for the Second World War after round 2 in 1940.

The League recommenced in 1946, without an award for individual performance.

In 1949 three brothers from Camperdown, Norm, Harold and William Maskell, donated a perpetual cup to the Hampden League in memory of their late father. Mr. Harold Robert Maskell, one of the original donors, commenced his career at Camperdown in the early 30’s. He later played with Geelong, Carlton and Hawthorn in the VFL.

Every year since 1949 the Hampden League has presented the Maskell Cup to its Best and Fairest player. During the mid ‘80’s the Maskell Cup was superseded by the Maskell Medal.

Since 1949 the Hampden League has awarded 80 Maskell Cup/Medals. Each Club in the Leagues history has had at least 1 winner. Club tallies of Winners:-

  • Warrnambool and Cobden                                                         11 each
  • Camperdown and South Warrnambool                                       10 each
  • Koroit                                                                                       9
  • Port Fairy                                                                                 7
  • Colac                                                                                        6
  • Mortlake and Coragulac                                                             4 each
  • Terang and North Warrnambool Eagles                                      3 each
  • Colac Coragulac and TerangMortlake                                         1 each

Over the awards 71 year history only four men have won Back to Back Maskell Cups. Ron Hoy won the award in 1954 and ’55 whilst at South Warrnambool. Formerly of Geelong in the VFL George Swarbrick came to Port Fairy and won the Maskell title in 1958 and ’59. Alan Woodman, also from Geelong, won in 1982 & 1983 whilst coaching Camperdown. Most recently in 2014 and ’15 Koroit’s Isaac Templeton won back to back medals.

Two winners of the Maskell had previously won the H.F.L. Under 18 Judd Cup. Camperdown’s Graeme Fitzgerald’s 1974 Maskell followed his 1970 Judd Cup victory. Terang’s Luke Vogels won the Judd Cup in 2000. Later in 2005, representing TerangMortlake, he won the Maskell Medal before being drafted by Sydney Swans.

On seven occasions the Maskell vote count has ended in a tie for first position. In 1977 Tony Hills of Warrnambool tied with Gary Kelly from Coragulac. 1995 saw Terang’s Neale Grundy and Mark Sutherland of Colac finish on the same number of votes. Stephen Hammond, representing Cobden and Koroit’s Anthony Mahony drew in 1996 and 2005 finished with a tie for the top individual honour with Benjamin Kilday from South Warrnambool tying with Koroit coach Joe McLaren. In 2010 Cobden Bomber Levi Dare tied with North Warrnambool’s Liam Ryan and in 2011 Simon O’Keefe of Koroit drew with Warrnambool’s Rhys Ramond. History was then again created in 2012 with a 4 way tie between Sam Chapman (Camperdown), Joe Dare (Cobden), Levi Dare (Cobden) and Tim Hunt (W’bool). To have a four way tie at major league level was bizarre, but, throw brothers into the mix and you crete a whole new level of intrigue.

Since the Maskell award was first presented only three men have won three Maskell Cups, Ron Hoy, of South Warrnambool, won the coveted award in 1954, 1955 and 1957 whilst Hugh Worrall won the award in 1970, 1972 and 1979 representing Cobden and more recently Levi Dare, also from Cobden, won in 2010, 2012 and 2016.

Only two men have won both the Maskel Cup/Medal and the Hampden League’s Reserve Lew Kelly Award. Anthony Mahony won the Maskel in 1996 and the Lew Kelly in 2000 for Koroit. Colac’s Tim O’Sullivan followed his 1956 Maskell Cup with the 1962 Lew Kelly Cup.

Duel winners of the esteemed Maskell other than Triple & Back to Back winners include Graeme Reichman of Mortlake winning in 1971 and 1976, Nicholas Hider won in 1994 whilst at Camperdown & in ‘03 representing Warrnambool. North Warrnambool’s Liam Ryan won the award in 2008 and 2010 and Koroit’s Simon O’Keefe tasted success in 2007 and 2011.

Who will win the coveted Maskell award in 2021?                       

In following editions of the HFNL Record we will have a look at the History of other League Awards including the Lew Kelly Medal, Under 18 Judd Cup and Ron Hoy Medal

These articles are researched, compiled and written by Peter Conheady.

Hugh Worral
Ron Hoy