PANMURE mid-courter Mandy Condon relinquished the Bulldogs' A grade coaching role this season and the freedom culminated in her second Warrnambool and District best and fairest win.
Condon, 27, pipped Merrivale's Elisha Carter in a thrilling vote count at City Memorial Bowls Club last night.
The result came down to the final round, with both players polling three votes.
Condon's 30 votes was enough to relegate Carter - a two-time Hampden league A grade best and fairest winner - to her second runner-up finish in two seasons.
Dennington goaler Marlie Boyd finished third, one vote further adrift on 28 votes.
Condon said the vote count was "unbelievable."
The prolific centre coached Panmure for three seasons before handing the reins to Josie Ellerton, who finished fourth last night with 26 votes, this season.
"Having guidance and someone telling me what to do has been great," Condon said.
"The last few years I have been worrying about everyone else's games and your game suffers."
Condon, who won her first WDFNL best and fairest in 2010, said her Bulldogs' teammates deserved credit for her win.
"They make me look better than I am," she said.
Condon polled in 13 games, including six best on court efforts.
She received three votes in four of her last five games.
The mother-of-one said she was grateful for support from her family and partner Jake each week, as they helped look after Frankie, 21 months, and allowed her to train and play A grade as well as coach 17 and unders.
"I know he can be a handful but they say he is good every week," he said.
Condon said she was already "nervous" about the Bulldogs' second semi-final against Old Collegians this weekend.
The Warriors are the only side to beat the Bulldogs this season, having clinched a narrow one-goal win in round two.
"They play a completely different style to us and that's why they match up well," Condon said.
"They take the pace out of the game and that's what we rely on."
Carter, who suffered a foot injury in the Tigers' elimination final win over Timboon Demons on Sunday, polled in 11 games and had two best-on-court efforts to finish the season.
The mid-courter said she had had scans on her foot and was "playing the waiting game."
Merrivale plays Dennington in the first semi-final on Sunday.
Carter, 29, said the reigning premier gave itself every chance of keeping its season alive for another week.
"It's a different team but we have put in 100 per cent," she said.
"I enjoy being the underdog."
Carter said it was humbling to poll so well and be in a final-round battle with Condon.