Cross claims rare dou­ble

Pilbara News - - Sport - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­tures: Ali­cia Per­era

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.

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