By Phil Skeggs
Ivanhoe Amateurs proudly congratulates Wayne Schultz on winning the VAFA Division 2 Best and Fairest award on Wednesday night. (September 15).
Schultz polled 15 votes in 10 matches to win the Jack Fullerton Medal. Marcus Nolan of Old Paradians came second with 12 votes and Glen Eira’s Francis D’Agostino was third on 11 votes. Ivanhoe playing coach Ash Close finished equal sixth with nine votes and was also runner-up in the competition goalkicking with 38 goals in nine games.
Schultz, a super fit 39-year-old, was best-on-ground in two games and polled two votes in another four games in a season eventually cancelled on September 2 because of lockdown restrictions.
Schultz becomes only the fourth Ivanhoe senior player to win a competition B&F since the club joined the VAFA in 1934. Previous winners were Tony Balcolme (1982, B grade), Paul Harris (2012, Division 3), and Georgia Scarce (2018, Division 1).
In an interview with the VAFA media team on radio RSN Carnival last night, Schultz admitted the award had come as a bit of a surprise.
“A little bit unexpected I guess at 39. The role you play is more about the future and the kids and putting time into them,” he said. “There’s plenty of young kids at our club. It’s incredible at Ivanhoe at the moment, the culture, everyone is really buying in and chipping in on-field and off-field. And we’ve got some superb young players – it’s exciting for them – and I think with some of them they will get an opportunity soon to eventually play at a higher standard.”
Schultz said he thoroughly enjoyed playing at Ivanhoe alongside close mate Ash Close, whom he said was doing a great job juggling coaching with his work at Collingwood Football Club. He also praised president Rob Pearce for his outstanding work, “superhero” Peter Rawley, the committee and coaching staff, as well as the support he enjoys post-match from his young family. To hear the full interview click here and skip to 2hours, 14:38!
The award is the latest in a storied career. Schultz played VFL for North Ballarat, Port Melbourne, Bendigo Gold and Essendon. He won the Michelsen medal in the Bendigo Football Netball League in 2011 and was selected in the Vic Metro championship side in 2016. He was also runner-up in the Northern Football League’s Rosbrook medal when he was playing with Ash Close at Northcote Park. Close was impressed by Schultz’s positive influence on younger players on and off the field at Northcote. He was the first player he chose to recruit after his coaching appointment at Ivanhoe in late 2019.
The club has been most fortunate to have Schultz as a player. He joined Carlton as its AFLW acquisition and skills coach this year after working as an assistant coach with Essendon’s VFLM (2017-18) and VFLW (2019-20) teams. He missed just one game this season and it was for family reasons. While he can play both ends of the ground, Schultz usually lined up in the back half, providing a springboard for attack with precision kicks to teammates downfield. And he’s a real clubman off the ground too, with time to talk with everyone. Even during lockdowns, he was active via the club’s social media, encouraging players with tips on how to maintain fitness.
We salute you Schultzy! Well done and thank-you, champ.