Dennington defender Sarah Higgins left it as late as possible to clinch the Warrnambool and District league A grade best and fairest crown.
The first-year Dogs netballer produced a best-on-court display in round 18 against Merrivale to move to the top of the leader board.
The three-vote effort allowed her to pass one of her rivals that day, new Tiger Elisha Carter, and celebrate the top individual prize at City Memorial Bowls Club last night.
Higgins polled 31 votes from 12 matches and attracted three votes on seven occasions.
Carter was second on 29 and another Tiger, playing coach Danielle McInerney, third on 27.
Higgins crossed from Mininera league club SMW Rovers to Dennington this season to play with friends.
Her arrival has coincided with the Dogs rising to third on the ladder and they will take on South Rovers in a first semi-final on Sunday.
The quietly-spoken defender said she had loved her debut campaign at the Dogs.
“I’ve met lots of people and we’re all getting along,” she told a packed audience.
Higgins said her award came as a surprise, and was far from the reason she played netball.
“It’s been competitive and good fun,” she said.
“Everyone is there to have a good time. I knew nothing about Dennington. I went there to have fun.”
The tall defender’s unassuming nature belies her influence on the court, helping her side emerge as a finals dark horse.
The Dogs lost to Panmure in the qualifying final at the weekend but beat Merrivale the week before, clean sweeping the best and fairest votes in the process.
Sue Fleming and Krystal Day claimed the minor votes that day, which gave Higgins the passage to overtake her Merrivale rivals with the last votes of the count.
“Everyone played well as a team,” Higgins said of the 41-31 win.
Runner-up Carter told the audience her first season at Merrivale had been enjoyable.
“It’s been really good, heaps of fun,” she said.
“It’s different not being the oldest in the team for once. I’m like a spring chicken.”
Old Collegians’ Steph Townsend was fourth with 25 votes.