The AJ Williamson Memorial Trophy is coming home to Kialla.
For the second straight year, the Shepparton News Fantasy League has been claimed by a News employee, with sharp sporting mind Alex Mitchell winning the Goulburn Valley Bush Bash League version of the competition.
Mitchell, who took the lead in round two and never relinquished it, steered the ship home with third place in the grand final, seeing off runner-up Tennyson Tinning by 28 points.
David D'Elia took third after a consistent campaign, while News sub-editor Ronald Anderson rounded out the first four — 75 points back from Mitchell.
But, as per a pre-tournament pledge, the hard-working News employee will not be pocketing the bonanza of a prize on offer — a $500 Hip Pocket Workwear and Safety voucher — instead donating it to local fire authorities.
The new champion said victory was probably one of his greatest life achievements.
“I'm one of the world's worst fantasy players, definitely not what you would label a consistent fantasy animal,” Mitchell said.
“My Fantasy Premier League team — the Guardian Angeliños — are dead-set shocking, and I famously only pick Goulburn Valley-bred players in my AFL Super Coach team because I'm too hopeless at that as well.
“But we crunched the form pretty hard for this tournament and it's paid off. It's pretty elite company, with only the great AJ Williamson having also won a Shepp News Fantasy Sports competition.
“I was pretty scared of Tennyson heading into the final with such a slender lead, but my boys lifted and got the job done.”
Brian Nisbet took the grand final individual round win, posting a great score of 318 to pip Matt Jaensch by three points.
Nisbet captained Jedd Wright for a 72-point return, and hit on several other selections including Mark Nolan (60), Joel Brett (46), Matt Hinks (37) and Kyle Mueller (35), meaning he had each of the top-five scoring players.
Wright was again an overwhelmingly popular captaincy choice, with 52 per cent of teams lobbing him the armband, with Brendan Scott (17 per cent) and Mark Nolan (13 per cent) also strong options.
But Wright, a Hurley's Hotel Hound, was the most popular pick for a reason, leading the competition in overall fantasy points with 185, thanks to 115 runs, four wickets and four catches.
Nolan finished second on 162 points thanks to eight wickets, with Scott (141) and James Seymour (136) other competition stars.
But the real star was Mitchell, who will receive the AJ Williamson Memorial Trophy for the next 12 months before the title is back on the line.
“They've been calling me ‘Jesus’ around the office as I actually wrote the GVBBL bible,” he said.
“I'm not even sure if that joke works as there is some evidence Jesus couldn't read and write I'm told. Either way, hardcore crunching the Twenty20 numbers certainly held me in good stead for the tournament.
“But as a real sort of office operator, I really have no need for $500 worth of tradie-style clobber, so I'm more than happy to dish the monkey off to the firies, they certainly need it more than me.”
The biggest disappointment of the tournament was the premiership hangover on show from Williamson, who finished in a poor 20th position.
In fact, multiple members of The News sports team were horrendous this year, with Williamson joined in the relegation zone by Tyler Maher (17th) and Liam Nash (21st, and lucky to be that high).
1. Alex Mitchell (Tarisai No More) 1439
2. Tennyson Tinning (Blue Brick Beer Guts) 1411
3. David D'Elia (All The President's Men) 1371
4. Ron Anderson (The Verminators) 1364
5. Peter Holland (Skeet's Stars) 1341
6. Aydin Payne (Payney's Panel Beaters) 1253
7. Josh Pearce (Return of the Jeddi) 1253
8. Matt Jaensch (Kiss My Chaminda) 1251
9. Kasey Duncan (Duncman's Dogs) 1202
10. Paul McIness (Consistent Fantasy Animals) 1201
11. Stuart Turner (The Flying Mongooses) 1195
12. Abe Lake (The Abe Lakers) 1182
13. Ron Holland (Half Trackers) 1142
14. Mick Mattingly (Mueller's Men) 1128
15. Brian Nisbet (The Weapons) 1109
16. Gregor MacTaggart (Disco Shoulders) 1070
17. Tyler Maher (Van Zyl-ophones) 1018
18. Joe Wilkie (The King Pairs) 1003
19. Chris Crouch (CC and Dry) 997
20. Ash Williamson (Chillby's Champs) 970
21. Liam Nash (The Umpire Strikes Back) 924
22. Brendan White (Crack Foxes) 868
23. Michael Van Dorsser (Van's Visitors) 838
GRAND FINAL SCORES
1. Brian Nisbet (The Weapons) 318
2. Matt Jaensch (Kiss My Chaminda) 315
3. Alex Mitchell (Tarisai No More) 309
4. David D'Elia (All The President's Men) 305
5. Ron Holland (Half Trackers) 298
6. Tennyson Tinning (Blue Brick Beer Guts) 292
7. Ron Anderson (The Verminators) 288
8. Josh Pearce (Return of the Jeddi) 287
9. Aydin Payne (Payney's Panel Beaters) 281
10. Abe Lake (The Abe Lakers) 272
11. Stuart Turner (The Flying Mongooses) 255
12. Peter Holland (Skeet's Stars) 253
13. Mick Mattingly (Mueller's Men) 248
14. Kasey Duncan (Duncman's Dogs) 247
15. Gregor MacTaggart (Disco Shoulders) 230
16. Paul McIness (Consistent Fantasy Animals) 224
17. Tyler Maher (Van Zyl-ophones) 191
18. Chris Crouch (CC and Dry) 179
19. Michael Van Dorsser (Van's Visitors) 174
20. Ash Williamson (Chillby's Champs) 172
21. Liam Nash (The Umpire Strikes Back) 129
22. Brendan White (Crack Foxes) 123
23. Joe Wilkie (The King Pairs) 112
OVERALL TOP PLAYERS
1. Jedd Wright (Hounds) 185
2. Mark Nolan (Mud Dogs) 162
3. Brendan Scott (Mud Dogs) 141
4. James Seymour (Panthers) 136
5. Joel Brett (Mud Dogs) 123
6. Michael Eckard (Panthers) 109
7. Kyle Mueller (Hounds) 99
8. Richard Oliver (Crushers) 95
9. James Nanopoulos (Hounds) 84
10. Mitch Winter-Irving (Mud Dogs) 82