HOWLONG ruckman Peter Hancock last night took out the Hume league’s Azzi medal.
Hancock polled 24 votes to finish four clear of Billabong Crows midfielder Dylan Kerr, with 2010 Azzi medallist Trent Storey third on 18.
Pre-count favourite Simon Hillier finished equal fourth on 16 votes alongside Dean Murphy, Josh Lewis, Brent Piltz, Jarrod Twitt and Matt Clarke.
Both Hancock and Kerr polled in 10 out of 18 matches, with the big Spider judged best on ground six times and Kerr gaining maximum votes on three occasions.
Hancock joined the Spiders this season from Lavington and has enjoyed an outstanding season to emerge as the premier big man in the competition.
Hancock held a four-vote lead at the halfway point and was never headed in the second-half of the count.
Twitt emerged as a serious challenger when he trailed Hancock by three votes after round 14.
But the Brookers coach failed to poll for the remainder of the count after he missed the last six rounds of the season with a broken finger.
Hancock said he was shocked to win the award.
“I couldn’t commit to the higher training demands required in the O and M this season and I thought I would just have a kick with Howlong and enjoy my footy,” Hancock said.
“I work out at Howlong as a bricklayer with Aaron Hoskin so it was an easy decision for me to join the club and I really love it out there.”
Hancock also won the Spiders’ best and fairest and has re-committed for next season.
He is the first Spider to win the league’s highest individual honour since Adam Hansen in 2006.
After recently taking out the Border Mail-WAW Footballer of the Year, Hillier became the first player not to go on and win the Azzi since it was introduced in 2010.
Holbrook’s Ewen Scholz was successful in the reserves with Howlong’s Ben Baker and Osborne’s Jacob Chant taking out the thirds and fourths respectively.