Congratulations to Chris Annakis

on winning this year’s Sir Gilbert Chandler Medal,
taking his EFL competition best and fairest total to three to be elevated to legend status.

The Doncaster champion joined Eastern Football League royalty on Wednesday night when he finished as a runaway winner of the 2018 Chandler Medal.

The 30-year-old polled an astonishing 33 votes from 17 games to be crowned the Division 1 best and fairest, finishing 13 clear of runner-up Rhett Jordon.

Chris Annakis shows off his second Chandler Medal. Picture: Garry Sparke/Sporting Images

North Ringwood captain Jack Whelan rounded out the top three with 18 votes.

As a three-time league best and fairest winner (he also won the 2015 Division 2 best and fairest), Annakis was elevated as the 14th legend of the competition.

He also became just the eighth player to be a two-time winner of the EFL’s top individual honour.

The midfield jet was also named captain of the Division 1 team of the year, attending the microphone as often as MC Daniel Harford.

Annakis said he was left “shocked and speechless” when it was announced he had reached legend status.

“I won’t be throwing the word around too much to other people, but it is a massive honour,” Annakis said.

“When it hits me and sinks in that it has been awarded to me, it will really hit home.”

A familiar sight in the EFL: Chris Annakis breaking away from a stoppage. Picture Davis Harrigan

Annakis said he had been overwhelmed by messages of congratulations.

“It really blows you away when you win an award like this, the amount of support you get from family and friends,” he said.

“You start to really realise how many good people you have in your life so I thank all them for every text and message I’ve received. They all mean so much to me.”

Doncaster coach Andrew Tranquilli expected his champion player to make it back-to-back wins but was surprised by the final margin, as was the 400-strong crowd at the Manningham Function Centre.

“I thought Chris’ year would be strong enough to really have him up there,” Tranquilli said. “Winning wouldn’t have surprised me, just the margin did.”

Tranquilli said Annakis had developed into “nearly an all-round player”.

Sharks mentor Andrew Tranquilli. Picture: Lawrence Pinder

“He’s just got an appetite now for contested ball and hard work,” he said.

“He used to be predominantly an outside player but now he compliments that outside work with some inside work as well.

“I think he owes a lot to the likes of (Michael) Fogarty, (Jack) Mahon and (Jessie) Finnen, who were our grunt workers in the midfield, which allowed Chris to do more of his damaging work on the outside.

“He gets it, he gets on the fly, he’s very good around goals with the quick releases … then there were times he had to do the inside work, which is where I think he has developed the most.”