Former Collingullie-Glenfield Park midfielder Steve Jolliffe took out the Hume league best and fairest count at Henty on Wednesday night.
In his first season with Howlong, Jolliffe picked up 26 votes to draw five clear of Henty star Daniel Cox and Culcairn’s Jye Shields and win the Azzi Medal.
Shields also came runner-up last season.
Jolliffe joins Peter Hancock (2016 and 2013), Adam Hansen (2006), Anthony Ross (2002) and Jim Sandral junior (1997) as recent Howlong winners.
The former Ovens and Murray representative rated the win as one of the highlights of his career.
“It’s very special,” Jolliffe said.
“There are a lot of really good players in the league and I thought Coxy or Jye might have won.
“Last year was a pretty tough year for me and I’m just really enjoying footy again.”
Jolliffe arrived at Howlong this year after stints with Collingullie-Glenfield Park and Wodonga Raiders last season and was best afield in his first two matches for the Spiders.
He went on to poll in 11 of the 16 matches he played.
Cox led the count after six rounds with 14 votes but failed to pick up votes between rounds seven and 13 which saw him slip off the pace.
“My form was pretty consistent and I owe Howlong a lot for that as they made me feel right at home,” Jolliffe said.
Holbrook’s Josh Jones and Osborne’s Declan Galvin were the surprise packets of the count, finishing third and fourth respectively with 21 and 20 votes.
Brock-Burrum’s Nico Sedgwick came fifth but was ineligible due to a suspension.
Saint Zac Barrenechea was victorious in the reserves, Rand-Walbundrie-Walla ruckman Ty Voss won the thirds and Giant Nathan Wardius took out the fourths.
About 300 people attended the function at Henty