Stacey Matthews says her Sally McLean Medal win is a special way to honour her grandmother, who passed away midway through the Ballarat Football Netball League season.
The North Ballarat captain took out the A Grade best-and-fairest on the season's final day, polling three votes in a best-on-court performance that saw her side secure an undefeated minor premiership.
"I was just sitting with my husband on the couch watching it. Not for one second did I think I was a chance," Matthews told The Courier.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"With the year the way it was, just kind of stopping and starting, I didn't really think anything of it. When I saw my name, I was quite shocked.
"My nan passed away a couple of months ago, so it was a nice, special win. This one was for her.
"it's been a hard, tough couple of months, so it was a nice way to put a smile on everyone's faces, especially in my family."
Matthews was influential in the middle of the court for the Roosters, forming a formidable partnership alongside sister Gina McCartin.
She was named best-on-court in two of the final five games to top the count with 17 votes and claim her second Sally McLean Medal in three seasons, having earned the honour in 2018 as well.
The Roosters won all but one game, where they came from behind to draw with runner-up Melton South.
"We had a great season from a club perspective, with the senior netball and senior football teams finishing on top," Matthews said.
"We were going along quite nicely and were really looking forward to playing finals.
"I found it was probably one of the closest A Grade seasons we've had in some time. It came to down to the last game to decide the top six and (the premiership) was really anyone's to be won if we had the opportunity to play finals.
"It was a really exciting year. It's just a shame it all came to an end the way it did with COVID."
Matthews admitted it had been tough in a season that was punctured by two lockdown-forced breaks.
"There were challenging times when you were trying to stay motivated and keep that momentum that you'd usually build through a season going," she said.
"It was a tremendous credit to our team. We had a lot of new, younger girls from our development pathway join the team and play their first season in A Grade.
"As strange as the year was and the way it ended, I think it actually gives everyone a bit of excitement knowing we might have a full season next year. I know there is a lot of excitement in our group."
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.