MYRTLEFORD midfielder Will Dennis has won the 2017 AWFA Star Player award, finishing just ahead of Wangaratta's Adam Burchall.
The Savoys star enjoyed one of his most consistent seasons in the league to date, and was a major part of the Savoys’ push towards the league championship and a second staraght Cup final appearance.
Dennis polled two more votes than Burchall, who also enjoyed a standout season in which he broke the league's goalscoring record, his mark of 51 eclipsing Zac Walker's previous record of 50.
It's the second year in a row a Myrtleford player has won the Star Player award, after co-coach Matt Park won in 2016.
The midfielder polled 30 votes, enough to finish ahead of Burchall (28), Cobram's Bill Marshall (26) and Wangaratta coach Connor Heffernan (25).
Bill Puckett, Matt Park, Pieter Noordewier, Adam Gatcum, Caleb Martin and Adam Waters also finished in the top 10.
Dennis enjoyed a breakout year after being used in a more attacking role this season, saying putting in extra time working on his fitness had paid off.
“It’s been an unreal season, the boys have been quality all year,” he said.
“This year especially I’ve been a lot fitter, and we’ve just got some great players.
“It’s been a team performance, I’m just looking forward to the final.”
After being a part of the Savoys’ historic Cup triumph last year, Dennis said going back to back, winning the league double in the process, would mean the world.
“I’ve just been doing a lot of ball work, a lot of running – I din’t set myself any goals for the season, it’s just been a team effort,” he said.
“We’re ready to go again, hopefully we can win the double.”
Myrtleford co-coach Matt Park said Dennis had come out of his shell more in his second season with the club.
“He’s probably gotten forward a little bit more than last year,” Park said.
“He had more of a defensive job to do then – this year he’s been able to express himself more on the ball.
“Playing in his second year he’s just really come on, he’s been a massive player for us this year.”
Up against a classy, disciplined side like Cobram in Sunday’s Cup final, Park said Dennis’ abilities through the middle would be key.
“A lot of the time the ball goes through him, he loves the ball at his feet,” Park said.
“We look to him, and a lot of the time he’ll go in and win the hard ball, he’ll put on the big tackles.
“He’s a big player in the big moments.”
Myrtleford will play for consecutive Cup wins when they face Cobram on Sunday.