SPORT Champion Ilett cred­its three keys to suc­cess

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - JOSH SPASARO

CAMERON Ilett’s sta­tis­ti­cal out­put was in­cred­i­ble for the NT Thun­der in the 2017 NEAFL sea­son, al­low­ing him to win an un­prece­dented sixth Club Champion medal, af­ter his ninth con­sec­u­tive and fi­nal sea­son for the Ter­ri­tory-based team.

In 18 matches this year, he came up with 402 dis­pos­als, 274 kicks and 116 tack­les.

The 32-year-old was part of the in­au­gu­ral Thun­der team in 2009 and played 172 games in to­tal, be­fore re­tir­ing from the NT rep­re­sen­ta­tive out­fit this year.

But in the Ter­ri­tory foot­ball legend’s mov­ing ac­cep­tance speech at the Michael Long Cen­tre on Fri­day night, he said just three things were key to his ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess.

Some­one to look up to, some­thing to look for­ward to and some­thing to chase.

“My (late) grand­fa­ther in­stilled great pas­sion to con­tin­u­ally im­prove as a per­son and as a foot­baller,” he said af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Ilett medal, named in hon­our of him and brother Jarred, who was the in­au­gu­ral Thun­der cap­tain in 2011.

“My fa­ther taught us, with me be­ing the youngest of three boys, how to be men.

“And my mother de­manded we re­spected our­selves and oth­ers.

“They have been the three peo­ple I’ve looked up to.”

Ilett also paid trib­ute to part­ner Jade, and chil­dren Sum­mer, Stella and Ar­tiki.

“Some­thing I look for­ward to is my young fam­ily,” he said. NT Thun­der star Cameron Ilett was all smiles af­ter win­ning the best and fairest medal named in his and brother Jarred's hon­our on Fri­day night Pic­ture: AFLNT ME­DIA

“They’re the four I look for­ward to see­ing ev­ery­day, and when I walk out the door they’re the four I want to make most proud.

“And fi­nally, some­thing to chase. I’m the youngest of two older broth­ers.

“So nat­u­rally I al­ways had two peo­ple to chase, and it still con­tin­ues to­day with my older broth­ers Ryan and Jarred.”

Cap­tain Shan­non Ri­oli was brought to tears when speak­ing about Ilett, the in­spi­ra­tional leader he has played along­side for 15 sea­sons.

Ri­oli also an­nounced on Fri­day night that he re-signed with the Thun­der for an­other two years.

And Ilett said he left the fran­chise in good hands, with top-five Club Champion play­ers Darren Ewing, Nick Yar­ran (19 years), Brae­don McLean (22), Abe Ankers (22) and Sam Smith (21) join­ing him on stage.

Ruck­man Ryan Smith, 30, also re­tired from the Thun­der af­ter play­ing a part in the 2015 premier­ship team, fea­tur­ing in 61 games.

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