SOUTH Rovers footballers roared loudest when Warrnambool and District league boss Ken McSween read out the last vote of the junior presentation night.
The words “three votes, Sandon Williams” secured the young Lion a thrilling triumph in the under 17½ football best and fairest count, the H. Johnson Medal.
Sandon was two votes behind Russells Creek’s Taylem Watson with one round to go but clinched the medal with a best-on-ground effort against Dennington.
He finished with 24 votes, polling in nine of the 18 matches and being best afield six times. Taylem, who failed to poll in the final round, finished with 23
Panmure’s Dylan Payne was third with 22 and Merrivale’s Jack Neave was fourth with 21, with the count the tightest of the night.
Sandon, 17, crossed from Hampden league club Warrnambool to South Rovers this season to play with his Warrnambool College mates.
His efforts helped the Lions finish on top of the ladder while he was also best afield for Warrnambool and District in its under 17½ interleague clash in May.
“It’s my first year in the District league. I came over to play with mates at school,” he said.
Sandon admitted to nerves before the round 18 votes were read out, with his teammates more more confident he would poll against the Dogs.
He elicited laughs from the crowd when, asked about his intentions for next season, he said “move up to ressies”.
But his immediate focus is helping South Rovers win a premiership. They will play either Merrivale or Russells Creek in a second semi-final in a fortnight.
“It was tough to the end,” Sandon said.
In other awards for under 17½ footballers, Timboon Demons’ Ryan Smith earned the rookie of the year accolade.
Merrivale forward Josh Britton was the leading goalkicker with 76.