By ZAC MILBANK
Glenelg’s Luke Partington has become the first Tiger in 13 years to win the prestigious Magarey Medal at a gala ceremony held at Adelaide Oval on Monday night.
The first Bays player to win SANFL’s illustrious best-and-fairest trophy since Brett Backwell in 2006, Partington is also the 10th in club history to earn the League’s coveted individual honour.
Joining Glenelg greats such as Tony McGuinness, Fred Phillis and Kym Hodgeman, the 22-year-old polled 26 votes to finish ahead of Adelaide’s Patrick Wilson on 21 and Norwood’s Lewis Johnston on 17.
After polling a vote in Round 1, the 22-year-old was slow out of the blocks having missed Rounds 2 and 3 with a minor hamstring strain.
But the hard-running midfielder sprang to life from Round 7, as he attracted maximum votes from seven of eight matches, with Round 11 the only game he didn’t poll in during the two-month period.
In this time, the former West Coast Eagle landed a staggering 21 of his total votes which proved to be enough to hold off early pacesetters in Wilson and Port Adelaide’s Jack Trengove.
Sturt pair Sam Colquhoun and Zane Kirkwood also earned top five placings while South’s Abe Davis, Eagle Jordan Foote and Central’s Travis Schiller were inside the top 10 vote-winners.
Measuring in at 181cm and 79kg, Partington averaged 29.5 disposals, five tackles, five clearances and a goal as he quickly cemented himself as one of SANFL’s premier midfielders this season.
Glenelg’s No.10 also claimed SANFL’s inaugural Digital Pass Player of the Year Award as well as the R.O Shearman Medal as voted by the competition’s coaches.
Originally from the Tumby Bay Football Club on the Eyre Peninsula, Partington was forced to deal with immense grief when his father Brian was killed in a mining accident at Olympic Dam in February 2015.
The tenacious onballer was then spurred on to get drafted by AFL club West Coast later that year, where he played six games at the highest level in 2017, including the dramatic Elimination Final victory against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
With the high-flying Eagles boasting a supremely strong midfield division, Partington returned to Adelaide to resume his SANFL career with Glenelg, having previously represented Port Adelaide at junior level and Norwood in 2015.
Now preparing for Sunday’s Preliminary Final against Adelaide, Partington has been a major catalyst in reviving the Bays fortunes this year which culminated in the minor premiership.
Not surprisingly, he has also again attracted the attention of AFL scouts after receiving an invite to the State Combine to be held in Adelaide on October 12.