From the moment Josh Chiavaroli laced up the boots, the Gunnedah Bulldogs knew they had been lucky to pick up the 22-year Victorian.
The midfielder has been a standout performer in a Bulldogs side that has blown away their rivals this season and was duly named the 2020 Gillies medallist as the men's best and fairest when the AFL North West unveiled their award winners on Monday night.
Chiavaroli, who moved to town earlier in the year for work and Dogs president Hamish Russell commented "just glides across the field", finished with 17 votes including three consecutive best on ground performances and held off a late surge from Bulldogs team-mate Jaydon Stiles to claim the top gong.
The latter was just three votes behind and did pick up the Gerry Griffiths Medal as the competition's leading goalkicker with 64 goals.
"It's pretty good, I didn't really expect it," Chiavaroli said.
It's the third time in four years the Gillies Medal has been won by a Bulldogs' player.
Andrew George shared the accolade with Ed George last year while Jacob Spackman won in 2017.
Chiavaroli said the award was a nice lead in to Saturday's grand final against the Tamworth Swans. It will be his first, in either juniors or seniors.
"I'm pretty excited," he said.
"It's a massive thing.
"I might not get to play in a grand final again."
The Bulldogs will have three teams chasing flags, with the women's and under-14s also reaching their respective deciders, and Chiavaroli said there is a really good mood around town.
"Everyone's pretty excited around town," he said.
It is now pretty familiar territory with Saturday the Bulldogs' fourth grand final in a row and third in four years at home.
Unbeaten so far Chiavaroli said it's a matter of just doing what they have been all season.
"If everyone just does their part, everyone does their job it will come together," he said.
Bulldogs women's star Alice Mitchell meanwhile finished equal runner-up in the women's best and fairest behind Swans midfielder Billie Mitchell, on 13 votes.
She was also the second leading goalkicker for the competition with 24 goals.