BOMBERS defender Brooke Pay has held off 2017 winner Caitlin Story to win the Horsham District Football Netball League A Grade best and fairest award.
Pay’s 26 votes saw her win the award by the narrowest of margins from Laharum’s Storey.
She said it was a great honour to be standing alongside Story on stage to win the award.
“I’m really shocked to be up here alongside Caitlin,” she said. “We’re both Horsham United girls from back in the day and I have the upmost respect for her and the player she is.”
In a consistent season Pay polled in 10 of her 13 games and was best on court on eight occasions but it was Natimuk United’s Casey Vanstan who set the pace early in the season.
Vanstan polled in six of her side’s first seven games and had 16 votes by round eight. By that stage of the count she had opened up a five-vote lead ahead of Story and was six clear of Pay.
When the leader board was shown after 13 rounds Pay and Story had moved to the top on 17 votes as Vanstan would not poll again until round 16.
Pay picked up her final three votes in her side’s round 17 win against Taylors Lake. Story needed a best on court performance in the final round against the same team in order to draw level with Pay and win back-to-back best and fairest awards.
The umpires instead awarded three votes to Maddi Iredell with Story’s two seeing her fall short.
Noradjuha-Quantong missed out on a place in the top six by just under five per cent after a big turnover of players through the squad.
“I played with a great bunch of girls and it was a bit of a tough year,” she said.
“I think there was an opportunity to stand up a bit more this season as a leader and I think bringing all the girls together helped me be the player I have been.”
In total 18 players represented the club’s top side during the season.
Pay said it was important to be able to share her award with all of those players.
“Winning this is a real highlight,” she said. “It’s not about the accolades but when you go out there every weekend it’s nice to get that recognition.”
During her acceptance speech she thanked Noradjuha-Quantong for its continued support on and off the court.
“They’ve welcomed me with incredibly open arms,” she said.
“Everyone from the coaches to the ‘Bomber Babes’ and the ‘Wounded Warriors’ who missed out this year.
“I just love getting out there with the girls. being strong and determined on court as we try to do the best we can because it’s not always about winning.”