When the counting started at the Far North Football League Mail Medal ceremony at the Roxby Downs Sporting Car Club, Ashley Baxter didn't expect he was in with a chance to win.
"I just didn't think I had a great season, was pretty disappointed from today [Hornridge were defeated by Roxby District, 38 points to 76, in the semi-finals]," Ashley said.
"I was just sitting at home, getting updates that 'You're in the lead! You're in the lead!' and it was getting closer, so I thought 'I better go out there or I'll look a bit foolish.'"
The Mail Medal is awarded to the person who received the most "Best Player" votes from the umpires by the end of the season, which is part of the reason why Ashley was so shocked he won the award.
"I'm not really liked by umpires... this is the first one I've really gotten close to, so it was a bit of a shock!"
Ash's win comes off the back of a great season for Hornridge.
"It was the first year for a long time for Hornridge to finish top of the ladder! We set our sights at the start of the year to have a really good season, and our depth and consistency all year helped us to win more games of footy than what we had previously, and it doesn't mean nothing if we can't make it through to the Grand Final."
Hornridge will get their second chance to make it to the Grand Final next week when they take on East Roxby, who held off Olympic Dam with a 40 point win over the weekend to keep their finals chances alive.
Looking to bounce back from the loss to Roxby District over the weekend, Ashley is hopeful for a win on Saturday.
"If we can go back to playing the footy we were playing for the first 12 weeks of the year, well then I'm pretty confident that we can get the job done. But East [Roxby] put out a good team [on Saturday], and they had a really good game, so they're not gonna be no walk-overs, but I feel if we do play our best footy we can challenge The Miners and East Roxby!"
Listen back to RoxFM's interview with Ashley bellow:
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