On Thursday night while at work Carly Ladson could feel her phone buzzing non-stop in her pocket.
The Golden Square playing-coach quickly checked her messages to make sure it wasn't an emergency.
Much to her surprise it was a raft of congratulatory messages celebrating her Central Victoria Football League Women Ultra Tune Best and Fairest win.
"Honestly It came as a shock to learn that I'd been awarded the league medal," she said.
Ladson took out the league's top honour, polling 18 votes, two ahead of teammate Amanda Carrod (16).
"One of the first messages I read was from Amanda in which she congratulated me and let me know that she was runner-up," Ladson said.
"To be honest I had an even bigger smile on my face for her as she's a great player.
"Absolutely stoked for Golden Square to take out the top two."
Ladson also praised the effort of fellow Bulldog Tiahna Cochrane who was named as Champions IGA Leading Goal Kicker.
"I don't have enough fingers to count the amount of times throughout the season when Tiahna passed the ball to first year players in the goal square to give them the opportunity to kick a goal," Ladson said.
"She is the most unselfish player I've ever come across."
Cochrane secured the count with 40 goals, two ahead of Bendigo Thunder's Britney Mueck (38).
Upon reflection as a player, Ladson attributed a growth in her personal confidence as her main point of progress during the 2021 season.
"At the start of the year I thought naturally I would be best-fit for midfield or centre half-forward, but was shocked when I found out I'd be playing ruck," she said.
"Being fairly athletic I have the advantage of being able to get involved in play after the ruck tap which brought strength to that position."
Ladson's approach to her playing was taken week-by-week which ultimately came down to a boost in confidence on the field.
"I slowly worked out my limitations and what I could and couldn't do on the field."
Despite the individual accolade, Ladson praised her team for a stellar season which included winning the 2021 minor premiership after going undefeated (12-0).
"The fact about our playing group is that we're teammates but we're also great friends which then leads to success on the field.
"We trusted each other and played for each other during every game."
Ladson and husband Rick plan to step down from co-coaching duties in 2022, but Carly's passion for the game and Golden Square will remain.
"I will definitely still be around in some form and will hopefully pull on the boots whenever I can," she said.
"Either way I will be involved in the club."
Carly Ladson and brother Jack Geary are the first siblings to both win the BFNL and CVFLW's highest individual awards.
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