Local hockey legends honoured in 40-year medal celebration
TWO Far North Coast hockey players have had their names etched into the Brisbane hockey history books during the 40-year run of its best and fairest medal.
Ballina product Sean Dancer and Coraki's Mark Harris have won the Brisbane Hockey Association Best and Fairest Medal, which was started in 1980.
Established as the Oakbridge Medal and then called the Foster's Medal (1989-2000), it is awarded to the player who polls the most votes by match umpires ‒ in a 3-2-1 format ‒ after each Division 1 game.
Harris won it in 2011 and is widely regarded as one of the best talents to have never played for Australia.
He represented NSW and Queensland in the Australian Hockey League and scored five goals on three separate occasions in the Brisbane competition in 2011.
Harris played two seasons for Bulimba Bulls in the Brisbane Hockey League before joining Labrador for the club's inaugural season in Brisbane in 2007.
That year he was runner-up to future Kookaburras star Matthew Swann (Redcliffe) in the best and fairest medal count.
In 2011, Harris polled 19 votes to win the award by edging out George Clutton (Easts) by one vote.
That season, Harris helped Labrador reach the grand final for the first time but the Tigerstix lost to Commercial (1-3).
Harris finished his BHL career with 162 goals from 166 games and led Northern Star to a premiership three-peat in the Far North Coast A-Grade competition from 2017-19.
Dancer played with Bulimba Hockey Club in the Brisbane Hockey League in the mid-1990s and went on to win three Division 1 premierships with the Bulls.
In 2001, he polled 31 points in the league best and fairest medal count, beating Blaire Brown (Commercial) by three points, to go with a Bulimba grand final win.
Dancer represented the Queensland Blades and Australian under-21 sides before playing/coaching in Belgium.
He coached the New Zealand under-21 women's team at the 2016 Junior World Cup, then helped New Zealand's national women's side win the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medal as assistant coach.
Dancer was appointed as the head coach of the Ireland women's national team in 2019 and helped the side to qualify for their first Olympic Games.