WANGARATTA Rovers netballer Alana Sutton last night became the third Hawk player to win the Ovens and Murray’s Toni Wilson Medal.
Sutton followed the lead of Kathryn Bourke (1995) and Stacey Emms (2005 and 2007).
She polled 23 votes to finish four clear of Yarrawonga star Bridget Cassar and Wodonga’s Gemma Grimmond.
Former winner Rebecca Didier was two further votes back.
Myrtleford’s Saige Broz set a cracking pace in the count by picking up eight votes in the opening four rounds before Sutton made her move mid-season and hit the lead in round 13.
Sutton picked up votes in 12 of the 18 rounds.
“I was a bit surprised and anxious when the numbers were ticking over,” Sutton said.
“There were a few girls I had my mind set on pipping me at the post, but when I saw the leader-board, some of the ones I thought might be up there weren’t.”
Sutton credited coach Michelle Caruso’s decision to move her deeper into defence for her successful season.
“She had the confidence in me to play that position,” she said.
“The move has paid off so I thank her for that.”
Wangaratta Rovers bowed out of the premiership race with a narrow loss to long-time rivals North Albury in the elimination final at Myrtleford.
In B-grade, North Albury’s Jacqueline Newton stormed home to score a thrilling win.
Newton polled 32 votes to edge out Lavington’s Sheree Nixon by three after picking up 10 votes in the final four rounds of the home and away series.
“It’s such a surprise,” Newton said.
“I really enjoyed the year.”
Wangaratta’s Chaye Crimmins was a distant third.
Lavington’s Jacqui Hallawell was a runaway winner from North Albury’s Tamika Wholohan in C-grade.
Promising Panther defender Courtney Mason took out the under-16s award.
League stalwarts Karly Way, Rebecca Cameron, Shannon Terlich and Fiona Boyer were announced as life members last night.
Emily Scammell won the most valuable umpire of the year award and Lavington took out the club championship.