A VFL-listed prospect who received a clearance to play for his home club on Anzac Day finished his one-off match with a best-on-ground medal.
Lochie Dawson is trying his luck at Footscray after an impressive stint with NAB League club Greater Western Victoria Rebels.
He has picked Ballarat as his feeder club for 2019 but its bye gave him the opportunity to run out for Hamilton Kangaroos on Thursday night.
The tough midfielder, who is still 18, was crucial to the Kangaroos' 12.6 (78) to 5.12 (41) win over rival Portland at Melville Oval.
Dawson joined Footscray in the off-season and is "just there to learn and hopefully get a game soon".
The Melbourne-based teenager said he was grateful Ballarat let him come home for a match. The Ted Kenna Medal was an added bonus.
"It means a heap but to be honest, anyone from our side today could have got the medal," he said.
Kangaroos coach Matt Dunn, who also praised ruckman Levi Dare, said Dawson prided himself on his ability to win the contested footy.
"He rang us last week and he wasn't playing this week and asked if he could play," he said.
"He wants to get the footy into him and we were keen to get him back."
The Kangaroos burst out to a 24-point quarter-time lead courtesy of its half-back line cutting off the run-and-gun Tigers' forward forays.
It was seven goals to four from that point on.
"The energy we played with and ball use and sticking to our set-ups and structures was important to how we started," Dunn said.
"It gave us the edge we needed for the rest of the night."
Portland captain Daniel Jackson said it "hurts a bit losing on Anzac Day".
"We didn't come out to play in the first quarter," he said.
"It put us back a bit. We ended close to the same amount of scoring shots but kicking point after point doesn't put any scoreboard pressure on."
The match was heated at times with spotfires popping up, particularly late.
Dunn said it was "boys showing a little bit of aggression...nothing untoward".
"During the last quarter a couple of little things flared up but nothing got out of control," he said.
Jackson said the clubs' rivalry meant tension was expected but "it might have got a bit out of hand".
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