The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS//

WITH a massive week­end for NRL fans on the cards, I’m re­minded of how lo­cal league pride shone bright at the 2017 North­ern Pride Pre­sen­ta­tion night re­cently.

De­spite an un­lucky sea­son, the boys picked up their spir­its and let down their hair.

As I walked through the doors of Broth­ers Leagues Club I could hear the cheers emerg­ing from the top of the stair­well.

I could be for­given for for­get­ting I had a job to do as I sat at my ta­ble along with five burly men and their WAGS.

I was seated be­side young foot­ball star Con­nor Jones, 21.

The hooker is the youngest player on the team and said he signed with the Pride be­cause it was a great op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther his ca­reer.

“Pride had such a rich his­tory of suc­cess and I wanted to be a part of that,” Con­nor said.

Con­ver­sa­tion rarely veered off the topic of their dress code for the fol­low­ing day’s cel­e­bra­tions, Mad Mon­day.

The boys had or­gan­ised cos­tumes from Bay Watch to Toy Story’s Buzz Light Year and Woody.

The for­mal­i­ties be­gan as CEO Greg Dowling and coach Ty Wil­liams an­nounced the awards for the evening.

At­ten­tion was on the stage as play­ers were en­grossed in the sto­ries of the good old days.

Nathan Wales was an­nounced as the Most Im­proved player and said: “It was an ab­so­lute hon­our and priv­i­lege to be rec­og­nized as part of the North­ern Pride team, a team that rep­re­sents a re­gion I grew up in and am so proud of.”

Rookie of the Year went to Troy Ka­pea, Best Back went to Jor­dan Biondi-Odo, Best For­ward went to Dar­ryn Schonig and tak­ing out two awards was Gra­ham Clark with Best and Fairest and Player’s Player 2017.

Proud Team Cap­tain Ryan Ghi­etti ended the night with some pos­i­tive vibes.

“I feel very priv­i­leged to be cap­tain of this great club.

“The foot­print of the North­ern Pride is huge, so to be lead­ing this group is a great hon­our,” he said.

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