Joel Mahar's first full season back at Bungaree since 2014 has returned the Central Highlands Football League's highest individual honour.
Mahar was a one-vote winner of the Geoff Taylor Medal count at the Ballarat and District Trotting Club on Wednesday evening.
The Bungaree onballer was named best on ground in eight separate matches throughout 2018 and polled 28 votes, one more than Beaufort midfielder Tom Stapleton.
That pair had a gap on the rest of the competition, with Hepburn star Brad McKay third on 19 votes.
After captaining the Demons to a breakthrough premiership in 2014, Mahar left the club to travel. He played two matches in early 2017 before again leaving the region, but returned during the off-season with a commitment to the 2018 campaign.
In all, he featured in 16 matches and kicked 13 goals as the Demons ended the year in ninth spot on the ladder.
Mahar said it was nice to claim an individual accolade in what was a tough season for Bungaree.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Mahar said on Wednesday night.
“It’s not something you play footy for, but it’s a nice honour to have at the end of the year.”
Mahar's success makes it three-straight Bungaree winners of the Geoff Taylor Medal. Ruckman David Benson collected the award in 2016 and 2017, but was never a factor in 2018 given his injury-interrupted campaign.
It was also a memorable night for Daylesford veteran Rob Rodgers.
Rodgers, who played his 300th open age game for the Bulldogs in the last round of the season, took out the reserves best and fairest award.
He polled a total of 18 votes from 13 reserves appearances, which included four best on ground performances.
The three-time senior premiership player was a two-vote winner of the count from Creswick's Shane Burns. Past champion Adrian Beer, from Beaufort, and Smythesdale’s Anthony Taylor were equal third.
Rodgers’ long-time teammate Scott Winduss won the award in 2017. The big ruckman polled well again in 2018, finishing the year with 13 votes.
28-Joel Mahar (Bungaree)
27-Thomas Stapleton (Beaufort)
19-Bradley McKay (Hepburn)
17-Brenton Powell (Learmonth)
16-Rupert Sangster (Beaufort)
15-Myles Sewell (Newlyn), William Driscoll (Springbank)
14-Tye Murphy (Gordon), Daniel Rees (Hepburn)
13-Daniel Wehrung (Newlyn)
18-Robert Rodgers (Daylesford)
16-Shane Burns (Creswick)
15-Adrian Beer (Beaufort), Anthony Taylor (Smythesdale)
14-Rob Dyer (Dunnstown)
13-Brett Duffy (Dunnstown), Stuart Robinson (Newlyn), Scott Winduss (Daylesford), Tyler Dittloff (Buninyong), Daniel Westblade (Buninyong)