High achiever Groth named best and fairest

GLADSTONE Brothers utility Russell Groth might be more re- laxed about his rugby league these days, but that didn't stop him from playing a starring role on the park this season.

Groth, 29, was rewarded for a consistently strong season with the Brethren by being named The Observer A grade best and fairest medal winner at the Gladstone and District Rugby League Awards Dinner on Friday night.

A high achiever in the game, having previously played reserve grade at the Newcastle Knights in 1997 and in the Sydney Metropoli- tan Cup and NSW Central League competitions, Groth said he was now enjoying his footy more than ever.

'When I was younger I was try- ing to go out as an individual and make representative sides ... training four nights a week and playing, it all became a bit of a chore,' Groth said.

'Now I've started to really enjoy my football.'

Groth, whose versatility en- ables him to be used in a number of positions for Brothers but pre- dominantly at lock forward or hooker, said he enjoyed passing on the knowledge he had gained to younger members of the top grade squad.

He said the fact Brothers was a 'family club' also made his season enjoyable.

"Of all the clubs I've played at, none has been as close-knit as these boys,'' he said.

'Not only are we mates, all the boys are best mates ... and our wives and girlfriends all get on well.'

Groth said he had not given the awards night any thought until the days leading up to it and, al- though tipped by some of his club- mates to fare well, had believed other contenders may be have been ahead of him.

One thing he is keen to reverse is a history of lost deciders which has plagued him both in Glad- stone and other centres and he is keen to end that run of outs next season.

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