FORMER West Coast rookie Hamish Brayshaw has been crowned the 2023 Sandover medallist after a standout season with WAFL club East Perth as a goalkicking midfielder.
Brayshaw, who spent 2018-2020 on the Eagles' list, polled 26 votes to win by a significant margin from West Perth onballer Luke Meadows (19), teammate Angus Schumacher (18) and Swan Districts midfielder Jesse Turner (18).
The 25-year-old became the first East Perth player to win the prestigious medal since West Coast premiership ruckman Ryan Turnbull in 2001, capping an outstanding two seasons with the Royals.
Brayshaw, who finished equal runner-up in last year's count to former Carlton midfielder Blaine Boekhorst, averaged 26.3 disposals in 2023 and became a consistent attacking threat with 25 goals.
The Victorian, who remains part of West Coast's off-field team as an AFLW assistant coach, paid tribute to the two clubs he said had offered him "sanctuary away from home" and allowed him to flourish as a footballer.
"It's been one of the best years of football I've had in my life," Brayshaw said.
"[East Perth] has become a family for me away from home, and when I got moved over with West Coast they offered the same thing.
"I've had two clubs that I've been fortunate to be a part of, and still a part of West Coast through the AFLW program, that have offered me sanctuary away from home.
"That has been massive in allowing me to fulfil me football career in whatever aspect that may be … and it's been a real honour and a joy for me to be playing football the way that I am and in the team that I am."
Brayshaw, who led the Royals to finals for the first time since 2018 as co-captain, paid tribute to the teammates who supported his evolution into a goalkicking midfielder.
"I had a better year this year, I feel like I was more impactful … but we've had a better year as a club, so I think that's coincided with me being up here," he said.
"I feel like it's an absolute team effort for me to be in a position to win the medal and I'm absolutely stoked with how the team has gone and it's a proud moment."
The former Eagle is part of a talented football family, with father Mark finishing runner-up in the 1989 Sandover Medal with Claremont and brothers Andrew and Angus carving successful careers with Fremantle and Melbourne respectively.
"My old man played a number of games for North Melbourne, Angus has won a premiership now, and Andrew was the best player in the comp last year as voted by his peers," Brayshaw said.
"So it's filled me with a lot of pride seeing them succeed and I'm sure this is the same for them."