Local league plans big awards night
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THE Gladstone and District Rugby League fraternity will officially draw the curtains on the 2005 season when players, officials and supporters gather for tomorrow night's senior awards dinner.
A low-key affair in recent seasons, the annual award ceremony is set to be returned to prominence on the GDRL calendar with more than 80 people expected to attend the dinner at the Gladstone and District Leagues Club.
Of most interest will be the player awards with a number of strong candidates staking their claims for the top grade prizes.
The dominance of Wallabys and Brothers among the Gladstone clubs in this year's GDRL and CQ Extended League A grade premierships means it is likely the senior award winners will come from their ranks although a handful of Biloela, Tannum Sands and Valleys players may make a grab for honours.
The player judged to be the best and fairest in A grade will be awarded with The Observer gold medal with silver and bronze medals also to be presented to his counterpart in reserve grade and under-19s.
Perennial frontrunners Ron Craig (Wallabys) and James Radloff (Brothers) should again figure strongly in award calculations.
The pair again scored heavily and thrilled spectators with their performances at the back for Wallabys and Brothers respectively and their Central Comets selection also has them in line for the Brian 'Brick' Pengelly Memorial Trophy as senior player of the year.
Also shaping up as contenders for the player of the year award are Wallabys pair Aaron Farrar and Dan Gourley, Brothers' Ben Platt and Tannum Sands' Brendan Rae who, alongside Craig and Radloff, gained Central Capras regional titles selection.
Brothers' utility Russell Groth and Tannum prop Adam Marxsen may figure in calculations for The Observer gold medal. Also to be announced is the George Mamalis Memorial Trophy for the best and fairest under-19 player.
GDRL secretary Peter White said the committee was looking to restore prestige to the annual awards presentations and was enthusiastic about the response from the rugby league community.
'The response to the evening has been really good with tickets selling well,' he said.
'Everyone is looking forward to the evening that will recognise and celebrate the efforts of the players, coaches, administrators, sponsors, volunteers and spectators who have been a part of the successful 2005 season.'