It was a couple of experienced campaigners who rose to the top in the Riddell District Netball League Ryan Medal on Wednesday night.
Diggers Rest playing coach Amy Carroll and Melton Centrals’ gun shooter Bec Morabito were named joint winners after an exciting count.
The two finished on 21 votes, three votes clear of last year’s winner Macedon’s Ciara Stewart.
It’s the third straight year that the top award has been taken out by players aged 30 or above.
This year’s top three placegetters are all mothers.
Carroll and Morabito joked they played so well because they were enjoying the time away from kids. Both were shocked to win the medal.
It’s the third time Morabito has won the medal. She previously won it in 2009 and 2011 and is the only player to win it more than once.
“I think the wise heads win and it’s about the smarts which we both have,” she said.
“It’s a real honour and I put it completely down to my teammates, I can only do so much by myself and I’ve been lucky to be in really good teams.
“This a complete surprise, I didn’t give myself a half a chance.”
Morabito said making the award more special was that her family was involved at Centrals as well. Her dad, Randy Pereira is the A-grade coach while her sister Taylor-Jane Pereira is making her way through the ranks.
Carroll said winning the medal, named after Diggers Rest legend Janine Ryan, was special.
Carroll also took out the Western Water player of the year, as voted by the coaches.
“It’s really exciting and I didn’t actually think I would be in the mix this year,” she said.
“I thought last year I would have been and got runners-up. This year was a big surprise.
“I’m thrilled to achieve this.”
Both players said they were unsure what they’re netballing future held.
“I was thinking of retiring,” Carroll laughed. “I’m not sure, I’ll just celebrate this and maybe play for a couple more years if my body can hack it.”
Morabito said, “We’ll see what happens. My daughter starts school next year and I’ll see how that schedule fits in.
“Let’s just think about Lancefield this weekend and then think about next year.”
Both Carroll and Morabito were named in the Western Water Team of the year. Carroll was at goal attack and Morabito on the bench.
Romsey’s Sarah Szczykulski, Macedon’s Janelle Birch, Chloe Wilson and Katie Clarke, Lancefield’s Anica Scherer and Tahnysha Salanoa, Diggers Rest’s Natasha Chokljat and Rupertswood’s Prue Stanley were the other members of the team.
Ciara Stewart was named coach of the year.
Rupertswood’s Hayley Matthews won the rising star award.
Woodend-Hesket’s Taylah Ranieri won the under-19 best and fairest award, Diggers Rest’s Toni Fogarty took out the C-grade award and Macedon’s Kym Grant and Romsey’s Katie Gould shared the B-grade award.