South Mandurah’s Andrew Haydon had his prolific season come into the spotlight when he took out the Peel Football and Netball League’s highest honour, the Ross Elliott Medal, on Monday night.
The brilliant midfielder stormed home in the later rounds of the count, piling up 32 votes to edge out Pinjarra’s Rohan Kerr who finished second on 26.
But while Haydon acknowledges the prestige of his latest award, he said the 2017 season was simply about rekindling his love for the game.
Haydon played all of his juniors with South Mandurah and was a part of the Falcons’ 2015 premiership league team, before taking his game to new heights with Peel Thunder the following year.
But the ball magnet’s transition to the state league didn’t pan out the way he wanted, and Haydon said he returned to Falcon Oval in a bid to “enjoy footy again”.
“I spent a year at Peel and it just didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” he said.
“I really just wanted to get back to loving footy again, so playing with my mates at South Mandurah was a way for me to do that.
“This year’s been so enjoyable – I’m glad I came back.”
If Haydon’s performances mirror how much he’s enjoying his footy, it’s safe to say he’s well and truly rekindled the flame.
The class finisher was nothing short of a powerhouse in the South Mandurah midfield this season.
Along with dominating the PFNL, Haydon took out the Jock Coleman medal for being the best division one player at the Landmark Country Football Championships and was a key cog in helping WA’s state country side defeat South Australia.
But Haydon took the modest approach when asked about his 2017, and heaped praise on his teammates.
“I think when you’re surrounded by players like Brad Holmes who just clunks anything you kick his way and Keegan Power who takes a bit of the pressure off in the middle, you’re bound to play pretty well,” he said.
“We have such a good group down at South Mandurah and everyone makes it easy to get out there and just play footy.”
Haydon said he was yet to make a decision on whether he would try to return to the WAFL level.
“Honestly, since we got knocked out a couple weeks ago I’ve really just tried to take a break from footy,” he said.
“It’s definitely something I’ll consider, but not just yet.”