ZANE Littlejohn fondly recalls the day Dylan Riley went from South to North.
The versatile utility switched from Youngtown Oval to Aurora Stadium more than a year ago and Bombers coach Littlejohn said his club was only too happy to welcome him.
"We were extremely happy when he walked through our door because players like that don't grow on trees," Littlejohn said.
"He can play wherever we need a gap filled. He's so good because he can play on a small or a tall.
"He's got genuine pace, which is obviously important and plays forward or down back but played through the middle at the weekend."
That commanding 63-point win against Devonport on Saturday saw Riley voted best on ground.
A former Tassie Mariner and draft combine attendee, the 20-year-old was delighted with his form after recovering from a torn hamstring in preseason.
Ironically, his first match back was the Anzac Day loss against his former South teammates, playing on former coach Mitch Thorp.
"They were pretty good to me," said the meatpacker and part-time landscape gardener.
"I got a really good welcome when I came to North. I went to Launceston College with most of their younger players so know a lot of them well."
Riley's three votes saw him join a player-of-the-year leaderboard in which two former AFL players from his old club are prominent.
Former Hawk Thorp leads with nine votes while former Brisbane Lion Bart McCulloch is among a trio on six behind Burnie's Rohan Baldock on 7.