Wodonga president Leo McGhee says Jack Craig's last game with the club showcased his growing maturity.
Craig will leave his beloved Bulldogs to tackle Premier Cricket with Melbourne.
Wodonga toppled Lavington in this year's preliminary final by six wickets after the home team was set 127 for victory.
"Some of those smaller run chases in finals can be difficult and we lost a couple of wickets early, but Robbie Jackson and Jack were determined not to give Lavington a sniff because (NSW Country paceman) Ryan Brown was bowling a lot of his overs at the front end, trying to break through," McGhee said.
"Jack was really mature, he ended up with around 30 whereas in years gone by he might have tried to blast a quick 60 or 70 to win the game.
"He realised the situation and that we needed he and 'Jacko' to get the job done."
Craig's 29 came from 63 balls and, as it turned out, that was his last knock prior to the move.
The grand final the following week against North Albury was abandoned after CAW followed Cricket Australia's directive to cancel all matches due to the coronavirus
The 25-year-old has spoken previously about showing more maturity in his batting, but he realises he will have to take it to yet another level at the higher standard.
"I do want to improve on my patience with batting, I've always been an attacking batsman. but where I fall off a bit is patience," he said.
McGhee also pointed to Craig's improving off-field dedication as another example of his maturity.
"There was a stage before Christmas where Robbie Jackson, Jack and myself were doing a fitness session and we wanted to get Jack down there because he was trying to improve his fitness," he said.
"After we'd finished, Jack said, 'do you guys want to do some extras and for a run'?
"In the past he might not have necessarily put himself through that, we marked that as a bit of a point where he had some pretty lofty goals that he wanted to achieve and he was starting to push us.
"The fact that he was taking it seriously showed that he was starting to combine the hard work with his talent."
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Craig claimed his first Cricketer of the Year award, racking up 742 runs at 41, across the association's two formats, and snaring 34 wickets at 17 apiece with his off-spin.
"If you never try, you never know," McGhee said of the decision to tackle Victoria's highest club standard.
"He might as well try and get everything out of himself as he can, so we're all extremely proud of him and we're also proud that we've produced a player to go to Melbourne and hopefully play some good first grade cricket and whatever else comes with it."