Kiewa Sandy Creek’s boom off-season recruit Jack Di Mizio capped his return home after a decade with a best on ground performance against Thurgoona.
Di Mizio claimed the Wayne Bartel Memorial Medal-AFL-Victoria Country Medal.
The 28-year-old was the league’s biggest signing after finishing runner-up in Wodonga Raiders’s best and fairest in the Ovens and Murray and also representing Victoria Country.
“I played three seasons here up until I was 17 and I was fortunate enough to play in three grand finals in the juniors, two in the thirds and one in the fourths, and we won two of them,” he said.
“I came back after all these years, 10 years later, and got another (flag).
“It means everything, it’s such a good club, nothing’s changed, it’s got community values and has that feeling of winning which I grew up with as a junior.
“I’m just stoked mate.”
Di Mizio remains uncertain if he’ll return to the higher standard of the O and M.
And while the strongly-built midfielder claimed the top individual award, it could easily have been snared by two team-mates.
Jason Bartel finished with an equal match-high four goals, kicking three of the Hawks’ first four, when the clubs were scrapping for the ascendancy.
“Against the breeze that (start) was huge, to come out and kick three goals to one in the first quarter was a really good start,” he said.
The 30-year-old fitness fanatic’s third major was a snap early in the second stanza which rolled through from a tight angle with his pace worrying the Bulldogs.
“I claim 170cms but I think I’m a little shorter than that and I weighed myself this morning (Saturday) and I’m 61kgs,” he laughed.
It means everything, it’s such a good club, nothing’s changed, it’s got community values and has that feeling of winning which I grew up with as a junior.Jack Di Mizio
It was Bartel’s fourth flag, starting in 2008.
Meanwhile, a Beechworth junior snared his first in his third year with the Hawks.
Jamie Paul is one of the league’s fittest players and bases his game around running.
“Pretty much, I feel the O and M is more skills based, but in Tallangatta you really have got to have a tank (endurance) on you,” he said.
The lean midfielder will certainly come under scrutiny from the O and M and given he’s only 20, he could have a decade-long career.
“I’ll see what happens, I’m having a ball out here,” he said.
Paul layed a superb tackle on Jake Bruce and then kicked a 35m goal in the third term.
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