FORMER Collingwood Football Club ruckman Corey Gault has capped off a stunning return to his original club Swan Districts Football Club by winning the Swan Medal last night.
In an emotional night of awards, tributes and farewells from retired league coach Greg Harding and captain Tallan Ames, the empathic end to the medal count drew even more excitement from the audience.
Gault top-scored with several best-on-ground performances in the back end of the season and finished ahead of 2013 Swan medallist Tony Notte and newly-announced 2018 captain David Ellard.
The 24-year-old averaged 25 hit-outs and 18 disposals in 22 games, after joining the club last November following his AFL retirement.
His season was highlighted with a selection in the WAFL team of the year as the team’s starting ruckman.
Gault said it felt amazing to have made a great achievement.
“You don’t go into the night expecting anything so it is a pretty good feeling to win it,” he said.
“Just getting back to enjoying footy and getting back to a local community club was just amazing.
“This year has been almost one of the most enjoyable years I’ve had in my footy career.”
Gault said he met Harding at 17 years when he was “really skinny and short”.
“He saw something in me and throughout the next two or three years, he just put so much time and effort into me,” he said.
“He gave me the belief that I could do something with my footy and from then, all the contact he kept with me while I was at Collingwood over the five years means a lot.”
Gault praised Ames and Ellard’s leadership at the club this season.
“Amesy has had such an amazing career and is so passionate about the club so if I can kind of impart my little bit of passion on the club and be a little bit like him, the club will be a better place,” he said.
“Dave Ellard – just his leadership is awesome so I will just be trying to follow his footsteps as well.”
Meanwhile, Notte and two-time Swan medallist Matt Riggio were recognised for reaching their 200th and 150th game milestones.
Other major winners include league leading goal kicker Ricky Cary and rookie of the year Taryce Stewart.