Gisborne’s Baxter Slater wasn’t going to listen to the pre-Michelsen Medal radio vote count for the Bendigo Football League last week.
With all the winners of the league’s best and fairest awards, besides the A-grade netball and senior football, announced on the broadcast, Slater decided in the end to tune in.
And soon his phone was buzzing as he was leading the count for the under-18 best and fairest award, the George Symons Medal. There was a few more calls and messages, when Slater took out the award on 17 votes, three clear of Daniel Clohesy.
Slater received his medal on Monday night at the Michelsen awards night.
“I was listening by myself,” he said.
“I got a lot of messages saying I was in front and then my dad came in. The league then called me saying I had won and they wanted to get me on the radio.”
Slater’s Gisborne team mate Seb Bell-Bartels came third.
Slater, who can still play in the under-18 competition next season, said he thought he’d had an alright year, which included finishing second on the goal kicking with 34 goals.
He switches between the midfield and the forward line.
“I kind of thought I had a good year kicking 34 goals, but didn’t think it was that good a year to win the medal.
“It was good to win it. There’s a few good players in the league, and to win it in the Bendigo League is especially good.”
The win came despite Slater missing games early in the season with an elbow injury.
The injury also limited him to just one senior game, having made his senior debut the season before.
Slater though has his eye on another medal, a premiership one.
He’ll be part of the Gisborne team which faces Sandhurst in this Saturday’s under-18 grand final.
Slater said they hoped they could come away with the premiership.
“If we play our best football we’re a good chance to win,” he said.
“It’s very exciting and it’s good to get the chance to get a win. The club has struggled the last few years to get teams in the grand final, so it would be good to win.
Charlotte Crook won the under-17 netball best and fairest award.