NPFL clubs wrap up the year, recognise their stars
The 2019 North Pilbara Football League season might be done and dusted, but the festivities haven’t finished yet.
Mad Monday celebrations have been taking place and premiership winners Wickham Wolves are still riding high on their two victories.
Over the weekend, four out of the six NPFL clubs hosted their annual awards nights, giving players the chance to get out of their footy shorts and suit up for one final night of frivolity.
Port Hedland Rovers have their awards night this weekend, whilst the South Hedland Swans are hosting theirs on October 19.
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The Wolves had their best season in the club’s history with both the league and reserves sides winning the premiership for the first time.
League coach Glen Higgins said the team put a lot of hard work in.
“We had a really good year last year but unfortunately fell at the final hurdle,” he said.
“We lost a lot of good players and I was a bit worried at the start of the year but we had about half a dozen players who really stood up.”
Ashley Grove broke his leg during the grand final but was rewarded on Saturday night at Rambla Bar and Bistro, winning the Bevan Parks Medal for the fairest and best player in the league side
“Ash is just an awesome player, he’s one of the best midfielders in the league and every week he never stops,” Higgins said.
Other league award winners included leading goal kicker Nelson Ansey, most consistent Marty Scoon, player’s player Tyler Lockyer, most valuable Riley Kay, best finals player Langah Punch and Kim Ball Memorial Award winner Jack Cheedy.
The Paul Lott Medal, for the best and fairest reserves player, was awarded to Josh Stock.
Other reserves award winners were rookie of the year Jackson Maher, player’s player Rob Burgess, most consistent Cheyne Tetlo, leading goal kicker Claude Taylor and best finals player Bill Butler.
The Kats had a successful 2019 which ended in devastation with their league side losing the grand final by one point and their reserves side losing by nine.
President Shane Harris said the club was obviously disappointed with how the season ended.
“In saying that, getting both teams to finish in the top two and having the home grand final meant the season really was still a success,” he said.
For the third year in a row Ben Main took home the Tilbrook Medal for the best and fairest league player.
“His work rate is tremendous and he can be a match winner for us,” Harris said.
“Rhys Holdman came in second but he missed the last four games, so it would have made the count very interesting if he had of played out the whole season.”
Ruban Cranny was the a tie for runner-up fairest and best, while Daniel Farmer Jr won the Minchin Medal and was the leading goal kicker.
Other league award winners included most consistent Jake Byrne, coaches award Josh Marshall and player of the finals, Harry Featonby.
In the reserves, Vaughan Smith won the Couper Medal for the fairest and best player.
Other reserves winners were runner-up Garry Harris and Alex Katos, most consistent Chris Wynne, coaches award Kynan Farmer and player of the finals Jake Spring. Harris was also rewarded life membership.
The Sharks league team made it through to the preliminary finals where they were booted out of the running in a nail-biting clash against the Wolves.
The team from Dampier came together in the last week of the normal season to honour late Sharks player Mitch Deacon, who died the previous week. In his memory, the award for the most courageous player in the reserves has been named after him, with Mark Smith this year’s recipient.
President Russell Turner said the team had performed well under new coach Steven Dodd to make the prelim.
“Overall it was a successful season and we’re very pleased with how it went,” he said.
De Grey Medal winner Lewis Upton was crowned the league fairest and best player.
“Upton was very focused on football this year and he’s planning to play for Subiaco in WAFL next year,” Turner said.
Other winners were runner-up Ben Crouch, most courageous Jack Newman and coaches award Reece Stewart.
In the reserves, Jake Wrigley was the winner of the fairest and best, while Dylan Vermeulen was the runner-up. Other winners included coaches award Terranc Lockyer, player of the future Marcus O’Brien and most improved Aneaus Brierly.
The Falcons finished on the bottom of the ladder in both league and reserves, but their 2019 season was still a significant improvement on the year before.
“There’s a lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda but we were a lot more competitive throughout the games than we were last year,” president Beau Corps said.
On Saturday night at the Red Earth Arts Precinct, Dylan Foster-Reed was announced as the league Fairest and Best.
Cameron Nowotny was awarded the reserves Fairest and Best, whilst Josh Stanley and Shaun Sullivan were recognised for reaching the 200-game milestone with life membership.
Mr Corps said next season the team would be focused on being more consistent.
“Cameron Ling has done four years and he is stepping aside, so we’re also looking for a new league coach,” he said.
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