Kylie Leslie has claimed her fifth best-and-fairest at Yarrawonga - 14 years after winning the award for the first time.
The 35-year-old returned to the court this season after a two-and-a-half-year absence and admitted it took a while to shake off the ring rust.
But having come back from two knee reconstructions and a broken wrist, mum-of-three Leslie has shown time and again she's up for a challenge.
And so it proved once more in 2021 as the skilful defender proved she's still up there with the very best in the Ovens and Murray.
"I definitely didn't expect that this year," Leslie said.
"I fell pregnant with my third baby in 2018 so I pulled the pin halfway through that season when I was 12 weeks or so.
"I missed the second half of that season, 2019 and 2020 so at my age, it was definitely a challenge, mentally and physically, coming back after those couple of years off.
"I haven't had that size of break before but I got there in the end and had heaps of fun doing it. I'm definitely glad I came back this year."
The Pigeons won 12 of their 13 games and were level on points with leaders Corowa-Rutherglen when the season was halted by COVID-19.
However, results only told part of the story.
"I definitely felt rusty at the start," Leslie said.
"Throughout the year, I felt a bit slower and couldn't make as many balls as I wanted to. My mind was wanting to get them but my body couldn't quite get there. I fought through and did the best I could though.
"I had to change the way I played.
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"I wasn't making the intercepts I used to get so I thought to myself, 'if I concentrate on my player and shut her down, try not to let her get too many goals, I think I've done my job' so I had to adjust that way and try to be accountable for my player."
Leslie admitted it was humbling to win the B&F but insisted adding another premiership to her roll of honour remained the priority.
"You're a long time retired," she said.
"Playing sport is a privilege. I've had quite a few bad injuries over my time and that's made me realise you can't take these things for granted and to do it while you can.
"The longer I can play, the better it'll be, but when my time's up, I won't be taking a younger person's spot. I'll know when to stop."
Sarah Senini and Laura Davis were the A-grade runners-up, while Sharni Hazelman took the coaches award.
"We were all up and about and talking about next season," Leslie said.
"Hopefully most of us can stick around because it feels like we have some unfinished business."
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