KOROIT skipper Ben Goodall soaked up his first Maskell Medal win but the prize he most craves is a fourth senior premiership.
Goodall, 29, was named Hampden league’s best and fairest at City Memorial Bowls Club yesterday, edging out Saints teammate Ben Dobson in a thrilling vote count.
The hard-working midfielder finished the season with two best-on-ground efforts which sealed his breakthrough win.
Dobson was still in contention in round 18, but Goodall’s three votes sealed it.
Goodall polled 23 votes, five clear of Dobson, who kicked 32 goals for the minor premier.
Portland captain Rhys Egan made his mark in the Tigers’ Hampden league debut season, finishing third with 17 votes.
Goodall said his win was a surprise and humbling.
“We don’t really rely on anyone so we thought there might be a few who’d get votes,” he said.
“But I definitely didn’t think I’d win.
“I don’t think I have had an outstanding year. I was just lucky I was the one who got the votes.”
Goodall, who polled in nine games, said leading the Saints to this season’s premiership was his main focus.
The loyal Saint is keen to add another medal to his 2003, 2007 and 2009 flag honours.
Koroit plays Warrnambool in Saturday’s decider.
“I am more excited about the grand final,” Goodall said after his Maskell win.
“That is the success you want to have, that team success, so hopefully we can get another and finish off a good year.
“Those three wins we’ve had against them are irrelevant now. We’re both in the exact same situation.
“Round one could have gone either way and even the last game we played at Port Fairy we probably just had a five or 10-minute patch where we got on top and that was the only difference in the game.”
Goodall was forced to make a tough decision as Koroit’s flag chances grew throughout a breakout season under first-year Saints coach Adam Dowie.
His sister Kylie, who lives in Koroit, will get married in Scotland on grand final day.
Most of his family have travelled over for the wedding.
“I discussed it with her mid-year and I didn’t know how it was going to go for us but if we were lucky enough to get there I probably wouldn’t go and they were fine with that,” Goodall said.
“She’s been pretty good.
“They live in Koroit. It is just to go back for Michael’s family, they are all in Scotland still.”
Goodall said he had embraced the expanded 10-team Hampden league competition.
“I think it has made the competition a lot fairer,” he said.
“Being able to play every team home and away is a lot fairer than maybe playing the bottom side three times.
“It is good to meet a new bunch of blokes and go to their home grounds and play at different spots.”