SATURDAY'S inter-league clash against Outer East ended with another medal win to the BFNL's reigning league best and fairest, but for Maddy Stewart it was more important she played her role and the team forged an important win.
The star Gisborne defender was her coach Jayden Cowling's choice as Bendigo's best player in a decisive 55-40 victory, earning the accolade ahead of a strong field of candidates, including her Bulldogs team-mate and goal shooter Clare Vearing.
Stewart, who was making her first inter-league appearance in at least three seasons and led the team as captain, was both humbled and surprised by the honour.
"It's a bit unexpected .... in the end I didn't envy the job of having to select a best player because I thought everybody was really solid out there," the 2018 Betty Thompson medallist said.
"Everyone did their job - the medal could have gone to any one of our players.
"Clare was a real strong target in there at goal shooter, and then you always have the consistency of Meg (Williams), she took some amazing balls and she was just always there to give and go. She's an amazing player.
"It was just awesome to get the chance to play with the top people from each club."
In Stewart, wing defence Chelsea Sartori, and Imogen Sexton and Allira Holmes, who shared the duties at goal keeper, Bendigo had the necessary class and poise to quell a quality Outer East attack, led by Olinda goal shooter Peri Stewart, who contributed 31 of the visitor's goals.
The BFNL skipper hailed Bendigo's fast start as pivotal to the final result.
"It's always hard going into inter-league, you don't have much connection with the people you are playing with, but I think we settled a little bit quicker and managed to jump on that and build throughout the game," she said.
"(Outer East) were a real quality side. They were a new side, so we didn't know what to expect, and I think in some ways they mightn't have known what to expect.
"We had a couple of lapses, but we were able to adjust our game."
Stewart believed the convincing result would fill the team with plenty of confidence for a strong tilt at next month's Association Championship.
The BFNL is hoping to go one better on last season after finishing runners-up to Geelong.
Bendigo last won the Association Championships title in 2017.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.