ANDREW Monte is the best player in Victorian hockey — again.
Ten years after sharing the best and fairest in the Premier League with Kookaburra Travis Brooks, the Corowa gun has won it on his own.
And Brooks again had a hand in the win.
The Athens gold medal winner lured the Spitfires coach to Premier League club Footscray in the off season on a deal that was too good to refuse.
The competition’s top scorer between 2006 and 2009 slotted into a fullback role and chief organiser of the side’s attack and defence.
An unassuming Monte labelled it a “solid year”.
“We are an emerging team that relies on some of the older, more experienced players being on song week-in, week-out,” he said.
“But while I felt I was playing all right, you never know how everyone else is going — who is polling votes.
“Footscray put me at fullback which was the spot I played when I went to Europe, so it suited me to sit back and direct traffic in attack and hold the fort in defence.
“I take great pride in the fact that I didn’t train with a state league squad all year, travelled three hours to Melbourne before each match and was still able to win the best and fairest against Australian players in the league.”
Monte said the move to Footscray had been painless, with familiar Border faces in both the men’s and women’s teams.
The team contained former Spitfires Justin Ellis and Sam McIntosh.
“I coached the Spitfires last year and was looking to coach them again but Footscray made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said.
“As well as playing in the Premier League, there was the exposure to a quality coaching set-up that has Travis Brooks as the head coach.
“They were happy for me to train in Albury during the week and front up for games on Saturday,” Monte said.
Monte is unsure whether he would return to Footscray next year.
“It was a lot of travel — I had the option to fly down but, in the end, it was just easier to drive,” he said.
“But I’m just looking for a good break over summer and getting away from the travel each weekend.”
Ellis and Monte were also named in the Premier League’s all-star team, while another Border hockey star and Footscray player, Sam Ellis, was included in the women’s all-star side.