RHYS Unwin says a chance to play representative football helped him elevate his game at club level.
The Cobden midfielder won the Hampden league under 16 football best and fairest after a standout season in red and black.
Unwin, 15, polled 30 votes on Monday night to win the Doug McConnell Medal from Koroit's Tate Waterson (20).
The Mercy Regional College student earned a chance to play for GWV Rebels' under 16 team and at the V/Line Cup in 2022.
He said lessons from those games flowed through in his performances for Cobden where he used his speed to advantage "bursting out of the packs" and found consistency in a midfield-forward role.
"My confidence (grew). I had a good year and played a lot of representative footy as well," Unwin said.
"Getting around with my mates and going up for a kick meant it was a really enjoyable year."
A chance to play senior football for his home club is something Unwin is aspiring to long term with a debut his aim for 2023.
"I don't want to rush into it too early, being a smaller body, but we'll see what the future holds," he said.
"I have always played for Cobden and they've been great for me since I have been there and I look forward to playing with them in the future."
Rhys Unwin, Cobden 30
Tate Waterson, Koroit 20
Charlie McKinnon, North Warrnambool Eagles 17
Jaiden Wells, Warrnambool 17
Sam Niklaus, Warrnambool 16
Hamish Alexander, South Warrnambool 15
Jake Hardy, Hamilton Kangaroos 14
Jonty Robertson, Cobden 14
Mitch Ryan, Port Fairy 12
Noah Nicholls, Portland 12
Angus Kissel, Hamilton Kangaroos 11
Jack Jennings, Hamilton Kangaroos 11
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