IT was no coincidence that Corey Gault went back to being a permanent ruckman in 2020 and he was back to outstanding form for Swan Districts culminating in him even claiming the Swan Medal ahead of the Sandover Medallist.
Gault initially made his return to Swan Districts after his time in the AFL system at Collingwood with a dominant season in the ruck back in 2017.
He cemented himself as the best ruckman in the competition ending up being named to the WAFL Team of the Year and then claiming the Swan Medal as the fairest and best winner at Swan Districts.
Gault was that impressive and imposing that season in the ruck for Swans that it was a surprise no AFL clubs took the chance on giving him another opportunity, but it wasn’t to be and then over the past two years he became the Mr Fix It for the black-and-whites.
With Nathan Blakely back to help fill that ruck position, Gault found himself more and more used as a key forward target in attack or as a rock at centre half-back.
While he did play some good football in those roles and there's no doubt Swans did need his size, quality and marking ability at both ends of the field, he wasn’t quite having the same impact as he did as a ruckman back in 2017.
So the decision was made to settle him again as the club's No. 1 ruckman in 2020 and Gault certainly took up the challenge and put together a block of eight games in the shortened season that well and truly lived up to what he produced back in 2017.
He ended up averaging 19.0 possessions and 31.1 hit outs a game to end up not only once again being named in the ruck position in the WAFL Team of the Year, but to also win his second Swan Medal as the fairest and best winner for Swan Districts.
It was a fine reward for Gault who has remained committed and loyal to Swan Districts before and after his time at Collingwood.
If his superb 2017 season didn’t earn him another AFL chance then it's unknown if what he did in 2020 can, but either way he proved himself the best ruckman in the WAFL this past season and was a deserving winner of the Swan Medal up against some stiff competition.
"It’s pretty humbling to be honest," Gault said.
"You don’t play for individual awards, you play for team success, but when you put in all the hard work and effort over your footy career it is sometimes good to be rewarded with something like this."
Making Gault's win in the Swan Medal all the more impressive was the fact that he received top votes ahead of the man who won the Sandover Medal for 2020, Sam Fisher.
Fisher had a brilliant first season with Swans having been recruited from the VFL and the prolific ball winning midfielder finished a close runner-up in the Swan Medal count to Gault having also been named to the WAFL Team of the Year.
Jesse Turner had a brilliant season as well for Swan Districts and was recognised with a third-place finish in the Swan Medal having also ended up in the WAFL Team of the Year.
Meanwhile, Jake Dugan was named fairest and best winner for the reserves ahead of Lachlan Riley and Patrick Italiano.
And in the colts, Ayden Cartwright took out the fairest and best award in front of Zane Trew and Cian Ehlers.
LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
Swan Medal winner (Fairest and Best): Corey Gault
Norm Thomas Memorial Award (Runner-Up): Sam Fisher
Mrs N Innes Memorial Award (Third-Place): Jesse Turner
Jack Hickling Memorial Award (Most Outstanding Player on and off field): Corey Gault
RA Newbey Award (Rookie of the Year): Denver Grainger-Barras
Ted Holdsworth Memorial Award (Leading Goalkicker): Leigh Kohlmann (17 goals)
RESERVES AWARD WINNERS
FA Bonney Sweetapple Memorial Award (Fairest and Best): Jake Dugan
DC Goddard Memorial Award (Runner-Up): Lachlan Riley
Lew Armstrong Award (Third-Place): Patrick Italiano
COLTS AWARD WINNERS
EJ McManus Award (Fairest and Best): Ayden Cartwright
Judy Sarich Memorial Award (Runner-Up): Zane Trew
Cooper Brothers Award (Third-Place): Cian Ehlers
WAFL Combined Past Players and Officials Association Encouragement Award: Brodie Morris
OTHER AWARD WINNERS
Best Club Person: Darryl Crotty
WAFL Community Award: Matthew Germs