LUKE Philp of Rokewood-Corindhap and Hepburn’s Jordan Grant have claimed top honours at this year’s Central Highlands Football League junior best and fairest count.
Philp won the under-17.5 grade in a tight contest while Grant snapped up the under-14.5 count, both of which were held at Bray Raceway.
Grant, 15, polled 49 votes in the first count of the night to become a runaway winner.
The Hepburn onballer posted a series of best-on-ground performance in the middle of the season to establish an unassailable lead with three rounds remaining.
Clunes ruckman Lachlan Hull finished in second place on 39 votes.
Grant is a relation of Western Bulldog great Chris Grant, proving that talent truly does run in the family.
“I missed the first round and gave my brother (Izaac) the votes that day,” he joked.
“I didn’t really expect it, I thought there was a fair bit of competition running around.”
Hepburn finished top in the under-14.5 division, and Grant is hoping the side can go one better than last year’s runner-up.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Philp admitted he was shocked to win the under-17.5 count with 34 votes. “It feels great, the legs are shaking because I’m so excited,” he said.
Philp and Creswick’s Darrien Mann dominated the count from the opening rounds, before a strong run home saw Eamonn McGrath-Lester (Daylesford) take home second on 27.
“I thought I had an all right season, but I didn’t think it was going to be best and fairest worthy,” Philp said.
The midfield/forward says he has made huge improvements to his game over the past two seasons.
“The team was competitive (last year) but I probably wasn’t working hard enough, so I tried to increase my workload this year to get to more contests,” he said.
The 17-year-old is now turning his attention to Rokewood’s finals series.
“Finished fourth and only lost two games during the year,” he said.
“It would be better to finish with a premiership cup, this would mean nothing if we got that.”
Meanwhile, Dunnstown’s Johnno Leoncini claimed the inaugural Goldfields coach of the year trophy, while Hepburn demonstrated its firepower in the junior ranks, with both Izaac Grant and Jackson Carrick taking home the leading goalkicker awards, with 84 and 101 goals respectively.