Mitchell Podhajski’s return to the Calder Cannons this season has been rewarded with the Robert Hyde Medal.
After missing out on being drafted last season, Podhajski decided to return to the Cannons as an overage player.
The decision proved to be a successful one, with Podhajski claiming the club’s best-and-fairest award.
He won the award from Daniel Mott, with Jake Ricciardi and Curtis Taylor finishing equal third.
Podhajski said he was honoured.
“It’s a really big honour,” he said. “Having a look through the past winners you really appreciate it … so many have gone on to have good AFL careers.”
Podhajski said he had been happy with his year, but wasn’t sure how he would poll in the count.
Podhajski, who was co-captain of the Cannons, played 13 matches for the Cannons as he combined TAC Cup and VFL commitments with Coburg.
Having missed out on being drafted last year, Podhajski said the decision to return to the Canons for another year had been the right decision for him.
“I played at full-back the last couple of years and did not have much opportunity to play elsewhere,” he said.
“AFL Vic saw it that way, too, and they gave me the chance to prove myself as a midfielder and have the chance to run through the middle as well this year.
“I had a good balance between the TAC Cup and VFL and getting the chance to prove myself against AFL-listed players.”
Podhajski now sees himself as a midfielder, but knows that he still has a lot of work to do if he’s to go the next level.
“They way they play, you need to know how to play multiple positions,” he said.
“I’ve proved myself as a defender at TAC Cup level and now playing as a midfielder in TAC Cup and VFL.
“Whether it’s VFL next year or AFL or wherever, I’ll keep working.”
Podhajski, who enjoyed his time with Coburg’s VFL side, said that if he wasn’t picked in the draft he would play at VFL level again next year.
While he has a couple of interviews set up with AFL clubs in the coming weeks, Podhajski isn’t taking anything for granted come draft time, having missed out last year.
In other awards, Tye Browning took out the coaches’ award, Mohammed Abou-Eid won the Phil Dunk Award for the best on-track award and John Roumeliotis claimed the Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG award for the most courageous player.