Lochie Dornauf puts down his standout NTFA year for Deloraine to chasing cows around the family's Moltema property that started as a kid.
The HEC Smith Medallist showed he has lost none of his trademark enthusiasm for the run in a sparkling return.
The onballer arrived back at the club for the first time since leaving farm life behind for Melbourne back in 2011.
"I think it had a distinct advantage growing up on a farm and having three older brothers," Dornauf said.
"I was always outside and didn't know what a Playstation was until I got to uni.
"I certainly may have made up for lost time, but growing up I did quite physical work and absolutely loved it.
"In those eight years that have gone past, we have bought a few more farms.
"We have now increased our capacity of our cow herd on four dairy farms to 2300 dairy farming cows.
"That's a lot work for my older brother and my other brothers to manage with our father.
"That was the main reason for me coming back just so I could be back on the farm."
Dornauf polled 40 votes in the NTFA Premier League best and fairest count to head off Longford forward Jackson Blair by six in a romantic win.
No Deloraine player has won the award in more than three decades since the club joined the old competition of the same name back in 1984.
The medal was not the first Dornauf has been given from the umpires after time away in three leagues, but the one closest to the heart playing back for his boyhood club.
"It has been everything I thought it would be and really much more," he said.
"It's a bit of nostalgia going back to the club you played from under-12s all the way to seniors, and then really felt there was a bit of a hole when I left.
"Although the football clubs I went to were wonderful, it just wasn't home."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Eight seasons in Victoria playing in the uni amateurs, in the bush at Heathcote, at suburban Watsonia and at the famous Wangaratta Rovers was one year too many.
The timing was right to come back to what he knew.
The place he had history.
"My father played here in the 1979 [premiership] side and my three older brothers played there," Dornauf said.
"It's great to see my mates are still playing at the club eight or nine years after I left there too. I think that speaks for its culture enough."
Now there is a new challenge ahead.
One that focuses the attention on the team.
Kangaroos coach Brad Powe has stepped aside for Dornauf to take on the job.
But the coaching journey started long before when the bushie was barely turning 21.
He led Watsonia from the bottom of the Northern Football League's third division to within a straight kick of a premiership after 12 months.
"I wouldn't have thought it would be eight years on, but the timing was right to be in a position to go," Dornauf said, "and the club certainly did approach me this year."
It did not just start this year.
That brings an infectious chuckle to a jovial Dornauf running the same old line.
"I've been approached for the last eight years," he said.
"Every year I get a call from Patch Donohue to see 'when are you coming home boy?' and I'm always maybe in a couple of years.
"But I wanted to come back and integrate into the community before taking on a leadership role.
"The plan with Brad was do two years and the third year to try and find someone else."
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