Camperdown Magpies star Hamish Sinnott said it was a "huge honour" to win the Maskell Medal on Sunday and hopes the accolade will lead to further opportunities at state league level.
The 19-year-old, who has spent the past two seasons on Carlton's VFL list, polled 18 votes from 16 games to claim the Hampden league's best and fairest award to go with the rising star trophy.
North Warrnambool Eagles forward-turned defender Jarryd Lewis and South Warrnambool midfielder Josh Saunders finished just one vote behind (17) to be named joint runners-up.
Sinnott, a hard-running utility whose preferred position is in the midfield, was delighted with the result in his first uninterrupted year of senior football with the Magpies.
He kicked 16 goals and was mostly content with his output, as the Magpies recorded their most wins since 2018 (10) and narrowly missed out on finals.
"I thought I was a bit inconsistent in patches. I polled a lot of threes, so I had some really good games but I probably wasn't as consistent as I would like to be," Sinnott told The Standard.
"I also would have liked to play a lot more VFL footy but I reckon that will come. I'm maturing my body, obviously I need to put a bit more size on but that will come as well.
"But to be named the best player in the league for 2023 is a huge honour."
The former Greater Western Victoria Rebel, who lives in Footscray, has found opportunities hard to come by at Carlton, playing just two games for the side this year after one the season before.
He is open to exploring playing opportunities with other VFL clubs after a "tough" season but is confident he will be on a list somewhere in 2024.
"I did the whole pre-season as a backman in the VFL and then to play the games as a half-forward was tough because I didn't know the system as much as I knew the back line," he said.
"But I was grateful to get the opportunity, obviously I would have liked a lot more and to be honest I think I deserved a lot more but that's going to come.
"I'm not going to give up. As much as I love playing for Camperdown I will be back on a VFL list next year whether it is Carlton or someone else. It was a good experience, you learn so much playing with AFL players and great VFL players.
"...hopefully winning this big thing (trophy) gets me a few more contacts. I really want to be playing VFL next year and I know Nev (Magpies coach Neville Swayn) is going to help me push for that again."
The talented teen's family is synonymous with Camperdown across football and netball however until now no Sinnott had received the Hampden league's top football honour.
Sinnott's father Matt played 276 games for the Magpies, uncle Aaron played 263 while older brother Zach is a teammate and also polled eight Maskell votes on Sunday.
The rising talent appreciated the award was special for not only himself but his entire family.
"This is to them just as much as it is to me so they deserve this just as much as I do. They do a lot for this club and I know they'd be loving this," he said.
Sinnott credited Swayn, who handed him his senior debut back in 2019, for playing a huge role in his success.
"Nev's been huge for me," he said.
"I've always had a good connection with him and I'm really glad we committed to him halfway through the season to go again next year.
"He does so much work, other clubs I think are starting to notice it - how much work he does.
"But for me he talks to me once a week, twice a week about my game, about opposition. We have a really close relationship and I really reckon that's what you need to do with your coach. He's been awesome for the club."
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