SUNBURY Kangaroos midfielder Bailee Said came into the EDFL Awards night not expecting to win anything.
By the end of the night, she had won not only the EDFL Women’s Rising Star award but also the inaugural B&F Medal in the division as well.
But she nearly left Moonee Valley Racing Club for her club’s own B&F night without her prize, as she rushed out after claiming the Rising Star gong.
“I just thought after the Rising Star award, that was it,” Said told essendondfl.com.au.
“We got that award and then we went out and then they called me back saying ‘you’ve won the Best & Fairest’.”
Clearly, Said was shocked to be called back into the room.
But nevertheless, she was ecstatic about receiving the historic medal.
“I was pretty stoked and I didn’t expect that I would actually win it,” Said admitted.
“I had no idea I was going to get the award, so I was pretty surprised.”
Reflecting on her year, Said believes she has improved her own game, but owes her improvement to her team.
“I think that I did pretty well but my team as well improved, so I didn’t notice it as much,” she said.
“My fitness improved throughout the year.”
Tragedy struck her in the qualifying final, when Said sustained a serious injury that would rule her out of the Kangaroos’ preliminary final.
She was devastated when she realised her fate.
“It was terrible,” Said explained.
“I was shattered that I couldn’t play the next game.”
But overall looking back on the year, Said has enjoyed the transition to the EDFL from the AFL Goldfields competition.
She says the reduced travel time has been hugely beneficial.
“It’s (EDFL) heaps better,” the B&F winner said.
“I prefer it much better because all the other girls are nice as well and there’s less travelling.
“It’s a lot easier to deal with than AFL Goldfields because we used to play in Ballarat pretty much every second week.”
Although the team experienced some hard times in terms of travel at AFL Goldfields, Said says one of her most memorable moments in her football career was playing on MARS Stadium in an interleague side.
Of course, a new memory has been forged in the EDFL, as she ranks winning the EDFL Women’s B&F Medal the most memorable moment of all.
When she was younger and just having a kick for fun, it was never an expectation of Said’s to win a League Best & Fairest.
“I always wanted to improve but I never thought that I’d win League Best & Fairest, that’s for sure,” she said.
Said instead came up through the ranks by playing school football and has only been accustomed to playing in a league in the last couple of years.
“Pretty much all my dad’s side of the family played footy, like my brother, all my cousins and my Pop as well,” she said.
“He taught all of us how to play footy.
“Then all throughout high school, I just played some school footy and then the last two years, I played AFL Goldfields and then I played with the EDFL this year.”
The future certainly looks bright for Said and despite winning the EDFL Women’s Best & Fairest, she’s not done with her football career yet.
She says playing in the AFL Women’s competition is her goal.
“I’d like to go a little bit further,” the midfielder said.
“I probably need to improve on my fitness and believe in myself, but it would be pretty cool to play VFL or AFL.”