YARRAWONGA midfielder Xavier Leslie last night went one better than last season by winning the Ovens and Murray’s Morris Medal.
Leslie, who finished runner-up to Albury’s Joel Mackie in last year’s count, polled 21 votes to finish four ahead of gun Tiger recruit Dean Polo.
The win elevated the dual premiership star to one of the most prolific vote-getters in recent history after he finished equal third in 2008.
Leslie said he was honoured to join Yarrawonga royalty as a winner of the highest individual accolade.
“It’s fairly humbling,” Leslie said.
“There have been some great players at our club that have won it like Johnny Brunner, Tim Hargreaves, Craig Ednie, Mick Stevens, these sort of blokes.
“To be put with them is a big honour, not that I think I’m anywhere near that calibre.”
The ball magnet will be out to add another medal to his collection at Lavington Oval on Sunday when Yarrawonga chase successive premierships against Albury.
Leslie, who hasn’t played since injuring his ankle against the Tigers in the final round, declared himself a certain starter for the decider.
“I’ll be 100 per cent and raring to go,” he said.
“I was very fortunate that we got the week off and went straight through.”
Leslie, 27, consistently polled throughout last night’s count, attracting votes in nine of 18 games.
He was judged best-on-ground by the umpires in three matches, polling two votes in six others.
Wangaratta speedster Matt Grossman tied with Polo for second on 17 votes but was ineligible after being reprimanded for using abusive language against Lavington in round 11.
Wodonga Raider Todd Bryant was the surprise packet of the night, polling 15 votes in the side that collected the wooden spoon.
Myrtleford co-coach Brad Murray and Lavington’s Kade Stevens also finished on that total.
Polo upstaged his coach and pre-count favourite Chris Hyde to shoot to 11 votes after just seven rounds.
Hyde polled 13 votes in total while fellow Tiger and last year’s winner Joel Mackie came home like a freight train to finish on the same amount as Hyde.
Yarrawonga full-forward Brendan Fevola failed to poll while glamour North Albury signing Jason Gram also finished voteless.