Photo courtesy of Courtney Rees at The Daily Advertiser
The New South Wales Group 9 division has officially rounded out the season with their 2021 Presentation Night, celebrating the individual achievements of this year’s top performing players from the Sullivan Cup (Under 16s), Weissel Cup (Under 18s), League Tag, Burmeister Shield (Second Grade) and XXXX Gold Cup (First Grade).
Former NRL 20-gamer and Young Cherrypickers half Mitch Cornish took out the Eric Weissel Medal for Best and Fairest in first grade with 18 votes, closely followed by Tumut Blues’ Ron Leapai and captain Lachlan Bristow on 15. Cornish was thankful to his teammates for helping his role as a half in 2021.
“It’s pretty special (to win Best and Fairest) and given the year it was I think we had a pretty good team around us”, Cornish said.
“As a half you’re only as good as two things; the platform your forwards lay and the execution of your outside backs, so It’s a bit cliched but it is a credit to either of their parts of the game, and I see us halves as the link men.”
Southcity Bulls fullback Latrell Siegwalt tallied 14 tries and 46 goals to win Leading Point Scorer honours (148), while Tumut centre Brayden Draber and Southcity five-eighth and captain Nathan Rose finished equal Leading Try Scorer with 15 apiece.
The Burmeister Shield Best and Fairest race was also closely contested with Southcity halfback and captain-coach Travis Smith winning the award on 12 votes, just one clear of teammate Simon Parr and Cherrypickers hooker Sam Norton. Upon receiving his award Smith spoke about what he learnt in balancing the dual role.
“It came as a bit of a surprise for me, this year was a bit different having to captain-coach the side, so my preparation and individual game was (also) a bit different,” he said.
“The man management was a bit harder than I first thought, it’s a completely different role having to man manage a team and being able to just turn up and play.”
Young Cherrypickers centre Casey Wall was named Leading Point Scorer with 98 points from three tries and 43 goals, while Gundagai Tigers winger Sakiusa Materua secured Leading Try Scorer with 16 four-pointers.
GROUP 9 AWARD WINNERS
Under 18s Weissel Cup
Best and Fairest: Kye Wright, 17 votes (Junee Diesels)
Leading Point Scorer: Jack Hillier, 84 points (Tumut Blues)
Leading Try Scorer: Kye Wright, 14 tries (Junee Diesels)
Under 16s Sullivan Cup
Best and Fairest: Jed Reardon, 17 votes (Temora Dragons)
Leading Point Scorer: Jake McGovern, 88 points (Temora Dragons)
Leading Try Scorer: Sam Gash & Clarrie Harris, 13 tries (Wagga Kangaroos, Southcity Bulls)
Best and Fairest: Madison Dunn, 19 votes (Wagga Brothers)
Leading Point Scorer: Brooke Wiggett, 106 points (Wagga Brothers)
Leading Try Scorer: Sophie Crouch & Molly Antone, 13 tries (Wagga Brothers, Wagga Kangaroos)
EISS Burmeister Shield
Leading Try Scorer: Sakiusa Materua (Gundagai Tigers) - 16 tries
Leading Point Scorer: Casey Wall (Young Cherrypickers) - 98 points (3 tries, 43 goals)
Best and Fairest Runners Up: Simon Parr (Southcity Bulls) - 11 votes, Sam Norton (Young Cherrypickers) - 11 votes
Best and Fairest: Travis Smith (Southcity Bulls) - 12 votes
XXXX Gold Cup
Leading Try Scorer: Brayden Draber (Tumut Blues) - 15 tries, Nathan Rose (Southcity Bulls) - 15 tries
Leading Point Scorer: Latrell Siegwalt (Southcity Bulls) - 148 points (14 tries, 46 goals)
Best and Fairest Runners up: Lachlan Bristow (Tumut Blues) - 15 votes, Ron Leapai (Tumut Blues) - 15 votes
Best and Fairest: Mitch Cornish (Young Cherrypickers) - 18 votes