Bay Power's Dean Backwell, right, rejoices after winning the AFL Wide Bay best and fairest award.
Bay Power's Dean Backwell, right, rejoices after winning the AFL Wide Bay best and fairest award. Alistair Brightman

Backwell a bridesmaid no longer

THOSE wondering how Dean Backwell would look in a bridesmaid dress were left disappointed at the AFL Wide Bay presentation luncheon on Sunday.

The Bay Power ball magnet joked before the event he would dress in a frock had he come second in this year's Stedman Medal race.

Fortunately for the 29-year-old, he avoided the major embarrassment.

After finishing runner-up the past two seasons, Backwell finally clinched that elusive best and fairest award after polling 17 votes from umpires in this year's competition.

He held out Across The Waves pair Michael Blair and Patrick Power, who each had 13 votes, and teammate Glenn Krohn on 12 votes.

"I'm chuffed," Backwell said. "I was that excited on Sunday you probably would not have got a word in.

"I reckon I've kissed it more than I've kissed a woman."

Backwell (pictured) became the first Power player to win the AFL Wide Bay's top individual honour, polling votes in eight of the 15 rounds, including three best-afield performances.

It was a good day for the club with Krohn taking out the NewsMail Player of the Year award (based on votes from coaches and managers); president Paul Studeman named senior volunteer of the year; and youngster Brenton Philp earning the Owen Backwell under-17 player of the year honour.

While he was glowing in his win, Backwell was quick to praise his teammates.

The diminutive midfielder returned to the Power in 2013 after his former club Maryborough Bears pulled out of the AFL Wide Bay competition at the start of the year.

He admitted he was unsure at the start of the year if he would play Australian rules again.

"I was thinking of playing rugby union because I thought it would be very tough to go back (to the Power)," he said.

"A lot of things went on with me and the club and a lot of my enemies were some of those players who gave me the scars and bruises I still have.

"But once you go out to battle with them, the bond and strength gets better.

"We've been through a lot of good times and a lot of bad times, but those boys mean so much to me.

"To win the medal after what they have done for me is awesome."

Backwell was also proud to join his father Owen and brother Brett as a best and fairest award recipient.

Owen is a two-time Grogan Medal winner (Queensland State League), while Brett has a Magarey Medal (South Australian National Football League) and J. J. Liston Trophy (Victorian Football League) to his name.



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