KEY tall and valuable team leader Oscar McDonald was humbled to earn the Adam Goodes Trophy as North Ballarat Rebels best and fairest player this TAC Cup season.
McDonald watched Goodes, a former Rebel, play his 350th AFL game in Sydney Swans' preliminary final win on Friday night.
Two nights later, McDonald was holding the trophy named in Goodes' honour and hand-painted by Goodes' mother Lisa Sansbury.
"It means so much to win this when you know the rich heritage behind the award," McDonald said.
"There is a lot of time and effort put into this trophy it's not just one you buy in a trophy shop.
"Knowing where it comes from is pretty special."
McDonald, who hails from Edenhope-Apsley, impressively stepped up his game this year as a strong, reliable defender and handy forward marking option.
The 18-year-old's efforts were recognised at league level.
McDonald collected the TAC Cup coaches' award as their choice for best player and was named at centre half-back in the TAC Cup team of the year with teammate Rowan Marshall as ruckman and Rebels coach David Loader.
The Adam Goodes Trophy was an unexpected bonus.
McDonald was clear winner, polling 279 votes, from a consistent season ahead of runner-up Marshall, from Portland (231 votes) and Matthew Johnston (North Ballarat City).
A gap year has allowed McDonald more time to focus on his football while working as a teachers' aide at St Patrick's College.
He will quickly turn his attention to AFL Combine preparations, having received promotion to national screening during TAC Cup finals.
McDonald said he was happy with how the Rebels' season panned out.
The Rebels lost their first four games but built an eight-game winning streak, finished in the top four and reached semi-finals.
"I want to thank all the players, especially the regional players, for all their time and effort this season because without all them myself, Rowie (Marshall) and Matt Johnston wouldn't be up here on this stage and performing well at this level," McDonald said.
"They all make the club what it is."
Meanwhile, Rebels draft hopefuls resume training this week.
ADAM GOODES TROPHY, BEST AND FAIREST: Oscar McDonald (Edenhope-Apsley/North Ballarat City)
RUNNER-UP BEST AND FAIREST: Rowan Marshall (Portland)
THIRD BEST AND FAIREST: Matthew Johnston (North Ballarat City)
SEWELL TROPHY, BEST FIRST YEAR PLAYER: Ben Simpson (East Ballarat)
COACH’S AWARD: Tom Ludeman (Warrnambool) and Josh Webster (Kalkee)
REBELS PLAYERS’ AWARD: Sam Hooper (North Ballarat City)
TONY FRAWLEY TROPHY, BEST CLUB PERSON: Andrew Day
GRAEME ALEXANDER MEMORIAL AWARD, OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Peter Henderson
REBELS OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Darcy Tucker (Horsham Saints), all-Australian