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Devlin, Watson cream of the crop

Date

Angus Pagett

Shelley Watson, right, won the McKay Medal.

Shelley Watson, right, won the McKay Medal. Photo: Melissa Adams

They were crowned Canberra hockey’s best of the best on Wednesday night and Wests midfielder Todd Devlin and ANU skipper Shelley Watson hope individual accolades translate to premiership success in this weekend’s grand final.

Devlin and Watson won the Brophy and McKay medals respectively as the best and fairest in the men’s and women’s Capital League One competition at ACT Hockey’s annual awards night.

Devlin will suit up for Wests against Central in the men’s decider on Saturday, while ACT Strikers player Watson will be aiming to help ANU defeat St Pats in the women’s on Sunday.

Devlin has bounced back from a raft of injuries and was acknowledged for his ultra-consistent form in the middle of the park for the table-topping Wests. Captain Gary Backhus said his strength on the ball will be instrumental if Wests are to make up for the frustrating end to last season, when they were knocked out of the finals early.

‘‘Todd Devlin, in the middle, he rarely loses the ball,’’ Backhus said. ‘‘If you get him the ball in the midfield, he creates chances, he flows forward and never loses the ball.’’

Wests boast a line-up dripping with talent, with Devlin, London Olympian Glenn Turner and last year’s Brophy Medal winner Adam Baxter, but Backhus says their team ethos is paramount to their success.  

‘‘We work as a team and we believe in each other,’’ Backhus said.

Former NSW representative Watson has been a powerhouse behind ANU’s journey to the title decider.

Watson’s ANU will also be looking to make up for the hurt of last season, when they lost in extra-time in the final.

Coach Brent Clarke says that his captain’s leadership has been influential but is adamant it has the team to go all the way.

‘‘Its been a whole team effort to get to where we have to but without a shadow of a doubt Shelley Watson, our captain, has been absolutely inspirational out on the field,’’ he said.

St Patrick’s Lynne Fitzpatrick claimed the Errol Bill coach-of-the-year award for the women’s competition, while United’s Aaron Hopkins won the men’s gong.

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