Cross claims rare double
Wickham Wolves star forward Jarrod Cross has topped a spectacular season by winning the fairest and best player and top goal-kicker awards of the North Pilbara Football League at the De Grey Medal presentation last Friday night.
The high quality of football that has been on display this season was clear as the vote count for the league’s top honour was tight until the final few rounds and had players representing every club in the running.
But a final three votes to Cross in round 13 put him far enough in front to claim the medal with 16 votes, ahead of runners-up Luke Hockey, of Port Hedland Rovers, and Dylan McCutcheon, of Dampier Sharks, who finished with 11 each.
The win makes Cross the first full-forward to win the medal in its history.
He was also announced as the top goal-kicker of the season, having logged 58 goals over 15 rounds, ahead of South Hedland Swans’ Steele Viti, who scored 48.
Cross said he was “stoked” to win the two awards, despite having to go to night-shift work straight after the presentation.
He said it had been a great season to play for Wolves, a club he had been a part of since juniors, after missing a year because of injury, and credited the team for much of his goal-kicking success.
“It’s exciting times to come to the club,” he said.
“There’s a lot of young talent coming through now and I think it’s starting to show in the way we’re playing.
“I’ll play out the rest of the year and hopefully celebrate at the end with a successful win.
“I think we’re sitting at a nice position now, it’s just up to us to put in the hard work and get the job done.”
The Colin Matheson Medal for fairest and best reserves player went to Port Hedland Rovers’ Todd Keyser, who was head and shoulders above the rest of the pack on 19 votes.
Wolves’ Beau Alec won the top reserves goal-kicker with 59 goals for the season and club president Paul Lott accepted the award in his absence.
The awards night was not entirely about the players, though, with the behind-thescenes crew of the game also acknowledged.
Two volunteers of the year were announced, with NPFL South vice-president and Kats club president Shane Harris winning NPFL volunteer of the year and former Swans reserves coach turned umpire Wayne Stokes taking home the Sunday Times WA football volunteer of the year Award.
Both have covered a variety of roles in the NPFL and said most of their involvement had come from supporting their children in the game.
“It’s just something you enjoy doing,” Harris said. “You don’t do it for these accolades, you do it because your kids are doing it ... developing kids as they come through, that’s what you get out of it.
“You see young kids come through from juniors and start playing league footy and you think, that’s good.”
Rodney Barden won umpire of the year and thanked the players, coaches, and co-ordinators for their support.
The 2016 NPFL award winners Shane Harris, Wayne Stokes, Jarrod Cross, Todd Keyser and Rodney Barden.
NPFL northern umpires co-ordinator Scott Buckingham, secretary and southern umpires co-ordinator Amanda Gilpin, registrar Peta Mott and president Greg Braithwaite.
De Grey Medal winner and top league goal kicker Jarrod Cross.
Colin Matheson Medal winner Todd Keyser and Kristel Keyser.