On Wednesday night Jodie Hayes made history becoming the first Southern Mallee Giant to take out the Hatcher Medal for the Wimmera Football Netball League's A Grade netball best and fairest.
Hayes finished the vote count on 15 votes, just one vote ahead of Minyip-Murtoa's Meg Cashin, Warrack's Emma Koschitzke and Ararat's Racquel Scott who all tied for second spot.
The former Dimboola Roo said it has been "surreal" after seeing her name atop the final leaderboard.
"I turned up just to watch the goings on and I didn't really have any expectations, I definitely wasn't organised that's for sure," Hayes said.
"I was interested to see how the girls in my team would have polled. It was really hard to pick this year who would be up there, given the year that it's been.
"I didn't expect to be the top Giant, let alone the top of the leaderboard for the League."
The accolade was just reward for Hayes in her first season with the Giants. She played an integral part in the side's mid-court, helping the Giants claim their first WFNL A Grade minor premiership.
"I felt like it took me a little bit to get going at the start of the season," she said.
"I think round four against Stawell it felt like I had one of my better games, fitting in with a few new girls. It felt like we took a couple of weeks to get going."
The Giants finished their season with just one defeat; a one-point loss to Dimboola coming in the final round. Had finals been able to be staged they would have been good odds to win their first WFNL A Grade premiership.
"I think it's been a rollercoaster of a season so it was nice in a way to have an event to tie up the season given the way that it did end," Hayes said.
"But it's a little bit bittersweet at the same time, knowing that finals haven't gone ahead.
"We can see that the league's done absolutely everything in their power to allow it to.
"I'm really impressed with the way everyone's rallied together to try and get the season up and going."
Although the Giants won't walk away with a coveted premiership, Hayes said there are "so many positives" to take out of 2021.
"I know that we just really enjoyed turning up each week and giving it our all," she said.
"We had lots to celebrate, despite not getting our finals chances."
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