THE Albion Hotel/PPK Singleton Greyhounds finished the 2018 season in stylish fashion at the annual award presentation night at the Singleton Civic Centre.
More than 170 guests were in attendance, which created a jovial and relaxed atmosphere for those reflecting on the year just gone.
While success of a club, for some, is only ever measured in premierships, that’s not always the case.
The Greyhounds failed to win a title in 2018 in what has been a rebuilding season for the club.
But, you wouldn’t have known otherwise such is the optimistic attitude from all participants in the game from sponsors and players right through to its supporters all of which was evident during the evening.
Player of Year for both the men’s and women’s sides was a very close affair.
In firsts, it was 19-year-old five-eighth James Bradley who capped a wonderful rookie season by claiming the top crown, pipping hooker Thomas Johnson by a single point with fullback Will Neiwenhuise in third position.
In doing so, Bradley has become perhaps the youngest winner in the club’s history to win the prestigious award.
The former Country under-16 representative and Newcastle Knights SG Ball player mesmerised the opposition throughout 2018 forming a potent spine with team mates Johnson, Neiwenhuise and the experienced Jake Smith.
Bradley’s running game in the halves is unparalleled in the Group 21 competition and you can’t help but think the combinations with his team mates will only improve in 2019 and beyond.
Hooker Johnson had a massive season, too, often shouldering the load in the middle of the field at lock forward which didn’t go un-noticed by snaring the best forward, best defensive player, best and fairest as well as player of the finals award.
Emily Murphy was a popular winner of the league tag Player of the Year.
As coach Matt Kenny mentioned in his presentation comments, Murphy was always trying to improve and seek feedback after each game in a truly professional manner and this was reflected in her performances.
Rookie of the Year went to teenage back-rower Ethan Curtin-Edwards, who played the entire season in first grade despite being eligible for under-18 selection.
The Dungog product looks right at home among the young members of the Singleton side and pipped rookie team mates Morgan Amidy and Cody Argent for the title.
Club Person of the Year was a popular winner in FAO Chris “Willie” Bryant.
He just loves his footy and has spent many years tending his first aid for multiple sides and has been the difference for some players getting on the field or not each week.
A well-deserved recipient if ever there was one.
The Max White Memorial Award went to junior Hayden Bourke who will be pushing hard for a top grade spot in 2019.
He also gained the top pointscorer award for the club in 2018 amassing 144 points in 15 games.
Team mate Brendan Chalker was another to feature in the club awards after scoring 17 tries for the Greyhounds, including a couple in the top grade.
Luke Holz became a richly-deserved Life Membership recipient on the night for his service to the club both as a formidable player and an administrator.
He received a standing ovation from the gathering and continues to do great things in the game at both senior and junior level.
Team awards went to the following recipients:
Players’ player – Dale Watson
Best and fairest – Thomas Johnson
Best defensive – Thomas Johnson
Best forward – Thomas Johnson
Best back – James Bradley
Most consistent – Will Nieuwenhuise
Most improved – Michael Rinkin
Most dedicated – Luke Gardner
Players’ player – Brayden Turnbull
Best and fairest – Marcus Carroll
Best defensive – Layton Amidy
Best forward – Nick Howard
Best back – Jason Fordham
Most consistent – Jake Mackaway
Most improved – Brayden Turnbull
Most dedicated – Shawn Dash
Players’ player – Blake Trees
Best and fairest – Blake Trees
Best defensive – Blake Trees
Best forward – Blake Trees
Best back – Brendon Chalker
Most consistent – Bailey Schultz
Most improved – Patrick McNab
Most dedicated – Blake O’Dell
Players’ player – Emma Johnstone
Best and fairest – Emily Murphy
Best defensive – Casey Fernance
Best forward – Nicki Taggart
Best back – Emma Johnstone
Most consistent – Casey Fernance
Most improved – Rhianna Cullen
Most dedicated – Alyssa Kriis
A big congratulations goes to those people formally recognised for their work behind the scenes including Kay Rutter, Amanda Watts, Tiarne Bayley, Alex Ferrie, Michelle Spencer, Barry Sonter, Racquel Harris and Scott Turnbull all of whom have been a great support to the executive headed up by Jye Bayley, Donna Clout, Luke Gardner, Ben Thorley and Heath Moore.
Finally, the club’s AGM will be held on Sunday, October 28, at Pirtek Park from 10am.
Interested people are welcome to attend with the incumbent executive giving every indication a desire to continue the work they started this year.