Morrish Medal: Jacob Chisari, the underdog

With most awards, it is usually for the polished outside midfielder who stands out from the crowd. The Morrish Medal however, rewarded the little guy; the one who physically and metaphorically gets looked over again and again. The one who does all the hard stuff yet the big guys don’t even notice. Well captain of the Bendigo Pioneers Jacob Chisari is the newest pin up boy for the little guys. Chisari was one of the four winners of the Morrish Medal on Sunday night, yet he despite his phenomenal year, recruiters haven’t even battered an eyelid towards him.

Following the presentation of the medal, Bound For Glory News spoke to Jacob about the medal, his year and his football in general. At 176 centimetres, most years he’d be considered too small to make it to AFL level. But there are a number of extraordinary midfielders this year who stand below 180 centimetres.

“I’m a bit shocked but really excited at the same time.” Chisari said immediately after winning the medal. The captain has had a phenomenal year, being listed in the bests 13 times out of his 15 games. Yet when quizzed about whether he thought he’d be close to the top, Chisari said “I didn’t think I’d end up winning it, but I thought I might get a few votes.” Had the Pioneers won more games, there’s no doubt a few of those ones and twos would have turned into threes.

Throughout the year, Chisari was constantly a stand out, but both he and fellow Pioneers midfielder Sam Heavyside were left out of the Vic Country squad, the national combine and the state combine. The disappointment of those omissions only spurred the captain on further; “yeah it was disappointing (missing out on the Vic Country squad), but it’s made me go back and work harder”.

Chisari rated Heavyside as “one of the greatest players in the competition in the moment. His work ethic on the ground and his recovery is at such a high standard”.  Chisari said that he hadn’t personally heard anything from AFL clubs, as all that discussion runs through Ray Byrne, the Pioneers Talent Manager.

The Morrish Medal was not the first great achievement Chisari has received during his time at Bendigo either. As a bottom age player last year, Chisari won the Pioneers’ best and fairest over the likes of Ollie Wines, Jake Stringer and Sam Heavyside. “It was very special. Obviously both Ollie and Jake missed a lot of games, but it was still a great moment”. Chisari nonchalantly played down his chances of taking out back to back best and fairest awards, as he does in his no-nonsense attitude. Chisari is not the kind of guy to get caught up in his own hype; in fact, he’s quite the role model in terms how he approaches football, which of course is one of the many reasons as to why he is the rightful captain of the Pioneers.

He isn’t perfect though; Chisari admitted he needed to work on his outside game more, as that was his biggest deficiency. From a spectator’s point of view, the clearance king’s clean ball use is certainly up to AFL standard, as he rarely misses targets. Chisari acknowledged that if a higher level of football did beckon, then he may have to start as a forward pocket. That’s a challenge that he relishes, as he’s spent more time up forward this year, proving his versatility and his dangerous capabilities around the goal face.

If Chisari departs the Pioneers at the end of the year, the future will still be prosperous. Chisari applauded the work of Jake Maher, Jaden McGrath and Liam Barrett as three professionals around the club, who’d be more than willing to take charge as the new guard takes its place. It was a win for the little guys, as both Chisari and Ben Cavarra proved that the greatest talent comes in small packages. Congratulations to Jacob for his outstanding year.  He indeed was a worthy winner.

Listen to the interview with Chisari here:

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