For Horsham Saints utility Phil Butsch, just playing football this season was a bonus.
Butsch was struck by illness earlier this year and considered taking 12 months off the sport he loves so dearly.
But the hard-nut returned in round five, with the help of some protective headwear bought by his sister.
"I nearly ruled footy out this year I wasn't really sure whether I was going to be able to play or not," Butsch said.
"To come back and play, and then to receive all these votes, is a little overwhelming."
Butsch stormed home in the Toohey Medal count on Monday night, scoring maximum votes in his final three matches to pip Warrack Eagles' player-coach Steve Schultz at the post.
"Steve is one of the best players I've played against," he said "I think it all comes back to the helmet; it certainly makes me stand out a bit.
"I have to thank my sister on that one."
For a gallery of photos from the night, click here: http://www.mailtimes.com.au/story/342915/wfl-and-wnl-best-and-fairest-vote-count/?cs=240
Schultz, the reigning Toohey Medallist, finished one short of Butsch's 24 votes, with classy Horsham on-baller Nick Pekin taking out third place with 19 votes.
Butsch was easily the most popular winner on the night, with runner-up Schultz even admitting he was cheering for him.
Schultz led from midway through the count until the final round, where his brother and co-coach Grant was named best on ground.
Ararat veteran Megan Shea took out the Heather Hatcher Medal for the Wimmera Netball Association A grade best and fairest.
It was Shea's fifth Hatcher Medal, winning with 25 votes.
Horsham's Zoe Heard finished in second spot with 23 votes, with Minyip-Murtoa youngster Polly Hammerton and Stawell's Emma Henry tying for third.
"I'm ecstatic and also very surprised about it all," Shea said.
"To get this near the end of my career is really special."