With a competition-wide bye in the Hampden football league on Saturday, The Standard thought it would be a good time to look at some of the better individual performers of the season so far.
We decided to pay tribute to those who have outperformed expectations and made invaluable contributions to their teams in a variety of roles.
The Standard surveyed the 10 senior coaches on who their biggest surprise packets were after 11 rounds.
Camperdown coach Neville Swayn named talented youngsters Angus Gordon and Josh Place as two players who had surprised him after 11 rounds.
Gordon, a 20-year-old key-defender, has played all but one game for the Magpies' senior side in 2022 and has four best-player selections to his name.
"Gus, he's basically held down centre-half-back and been on some key forwards," Swayn said.
"We've thrown him in the deep end."
Place, who is a similar age to Gordon, has been named in the best four times from 11 games.
"Josh, again we probably threw him in the deep end. He's going through a midfield rotation," Swayn said.
Midfielder Grady Rooke has been outstanding and injury-free for Cobden this year, with coach Dan Casey hailing him as his side's surprise packet.
Rooke has nine best-player selections and nine goals from 11 games in 2022.
Casey also praised the efforts of backman Sam Thow and teens Luke Smith and Tyler Humphrey.
"Tyler's played in the ruck by himself and Luke's fitted perfectly into our midfield," he said.
Hamish Cook has been outstanding for Hamilton in his first year of senior football while still being eligible for the under 18.5 competition.
Kangaroos coach Hamish Waldron said the youngster, with 19 majors to his name, had already "exceeded my expectations".
"He's been playing a bit of key-position down forward for us," he said.
"He played the first game in the under 18.5s, then he's played up ever since and hasn't missed."
Koroit has a raft of talented teens at the club, with coach Chris McLaren singing the praises of some.
"Connor Byrne has been outstanding since he's been in," he said.
"Curran O'Donnell and Jamie Lloyd have been really good and then obviously Finn O'Sullivan.
"Jake McCosh has played at times and in under 18.5s as well."
McLaren highlighted Mac Petersen's dominance on the wing but said he wasn't necessarily surprised.
"He's been a very, very talented player for a few years but really dedicated himself to his training over the summer and he's had an outstanding year playing predominantly as a wingman," he said.
North Warrnambool Eagles coach Adam Dowie singled-out 2022 recruit Jack Johnstone, who moved from Dennington at the start of the season.
"He's a good defender, pretty hard and good with ball in hand," Dowie said.
"He hasn't looked back, has had some tough jobs but doesn't look out of his depth at all. He's a good lad, quietly spoken and a hard worker."
Port Fairy coach Winis Imbi approached the question differently and chose a player who had impressed him with their leadership.
"I'll go with Matt Sully, our captain," Imbi said.
"No one's ever questioned his playing capacity but just his level of growth in terms of being a leader.
"For example he's been doing more public speaking. It's something that he's still getting used to and obviously trying to lead our boys through the struggles that we've been having.
"He's been getting better at talking to them in his own way. That's been really pleasing to see. I knew he had it in him."
Portland is flying with nine wins from 11 matches and former VFL utility Tom Sharp has been crucial to the Tigers' fortunes.
Sharp has 51 goals for the season and Tigers coach Jarrod Holt is thrilled with his season so far.
"It's not that much of a surprise to people at the club," he said.
"But he's been able to get his body right and have a huge impact for us this year."
South Warrnambool coach Mat Battistello said he couldn't pinpoint anyone who had jumped out and surprised him.
Terang Mortlake coach Ben Kenna didn't have any surprise packets to name but said he had been impressed with Xavier Vickers and Ryley Hutchins, both playing their first years of Hampden league senior football.
Both players have starred for the Bloods, with Hutchins named in the best players on nine occasions and Vickers six.
"I'd say they'd both be top-four in the best and fairest," Kenna said.
"They're just having a good consistent year and have played predominantly on-ball as young 18 year olds."
Sixteen-year-old ruckman Amon Radley has made an impression on Warrnambool coach Ben Parkinson across his first nine senior games for the Blues.
Radley made his debut in round three against North Warrnambool and was named the Blues' second best player in their win.
"Rucking against Nathan Vardy, I think he was still 15 at that stage," Blues coach Ben Parkinson said.
"He was probably put in there purely for his size and without any expectations but yeah he's going well."
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