Medhurst's gem earns him Anzac Medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Medhurst's gem earns him Anzac Medal

By Roger Vaughan 25/04/2008 08:01:39 PM Comments (0)

Paul Medhurst is the former AFL rough diamond who produced an Anzac Day gem.

The Magpies small forward relished the atmosphere of a packed MCG in his first Anzac Day blockbuster for Collingwood against Essendon and won the Anzac Medal as best afield.

Medhurst kicked six goals and polled eight votes, one more than midfield team-mate Scott Pendlebury.

Two years ago, his career was spluttering when he left Fremantle in the trade that sent Chris Tarrant from the Magpies to the Dockers.

It is worth noting that at the time, Medhurst's stocks were so low that he was only the sweetener in the deal that also gave Collingwood first-round draft pick Ben Reid.

Medhurst missed last year's Anzac Day with an ankle injury, but steadily built form during the year and by the finals was making the most of his new football home.

That has carried into this season and he was outstanding as Collingwood tore Essendon apart.

His coach Mick Malthouse, whose children Medhurst once coached in Perth school football, paid credit to him for rebounding so strongly from a couple of lean years in the AFL.

"Sometimes you look through things with rose-coloured glasses, but you always see a gem in a little bit of perhaps untilled soil," Malthouse said.

"Paul would be pretty happy with himself, that he can look at himself in the mirror now and say 'well, I've hardened up physically, I've trained hard to meet the requirements, the demands that Collingwood place on (me)'."

Malthouse had said on Thursday that the enormity of the Anzac Day game - it attracted 89,999 fans - was a way for him to assess whether his players could cut it under pressure.

Medhurst stood in the middle of the ground before the match as the Last Post and national anthem were played - and smiled.

Clearly, the occasion was going to help rather than hinder his game.

Medhurst had also lapped up the emotion and atmosphere on Tuesday as the Collingwood team went to the Shrine Of Remembrance for an informal pre-Anzac Day commemoration.

"We get a chance to go out there in front of everyone and demonstrate what we think (are) the important values that the Anzacs taught us," he said.

"(I was) really proud when the (Last) Post and the anthem stopped. It was goose bumps and I had a big smile on my face."

Apart from his goalkicking, his pressure on the Essendon backmen and work off the ball were also prominent.

A couple of years ago, "workrate" was not a word readily associated with Medhurst.

He revealed post-match that several family members, including his mother Genevieve, travelled from Perth to watch him play and add to the day.

"I had a fair (amount) of family fly over, it was a bit of a madhouse last night - Mum snoring on the couch," he said with a smile.

As with all his football awards, Medhurst's parents will mind this latest honour - one that he said he would "treasure forever".

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