Raiders play­ers awarded for ou­s­tand­ing sea­son

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

FOL­LOW­ING an im­pres­sive dou­ble pre­mier­ship win in the Mackay Dis­trict Rugby Union Com­pe­ti­tion, the East Coast Die­sel Raiders Proser­pine Whit­sun­day Rugby Union Club cel­e­brated whole-heart­edly at their club pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner at the Ju­bilee Tav­ern on Satur­day night.

A crowd of about 90 en­thu­si­as­tic guests en­joyed the spoils of the night which was hosted by colour­ful Master of Cer­e­monies Kon Fla­herty re- flect­ing the spirit of what was one of the most re­mark­able years on record.

Club pres­i­dent Bruce Span­na­gle praised the play­ers on all their ef­forts and sac­ri­fices through­out the year speaking highly of the pride it has brought to the club and to him­self.

Billy Kaka, who has had a 30 year in­volve­ment with the club, was awarded a life mem­ber­ship for years of out­stand­ing loy­alty and sup­port and re­ceived it in his own hum­ble way that was met by a stand­ing ova­tion.

Another ma­jor high­light of the night was the pre­sen­ta­tion of the Raider of the Year award to A grade co-cap­tain Ron Cro­ker.

Cro­ker proved his dedication to the team when he re­turned to the field in the sec­ond half of the grand fi­nal for the first time in five weeks fol­low­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion from a smashed hand in Round 3.

“He should have been out for the sea­son with that in­jury but he came back and the cheers from the crowd as he ran back onto the field were in­cred­i­ble,” Mr Span­na­gle said.

The two teams of close-knit young men were led su­perbly through­out the sea­son by their coach Hemi Taukiri.

Taukiri, who com­pleted his two year con­tract with the club, has de­parted with his part­ner Clare Hol- land to take on a new coach­ing po­si­tion in Ire­land, leav­ing the club in the best shape for decades.

Taukiri praised the club for all their ef­forts and pre­sented three spe­cial awards to Kon Fla­herty, Trent El­son and Bill Pratt for their com­mit­ment to the club on and off the field.

A 20 minute video pre­sen­ta­tion show­cas­ing the high­lights of the 2013 sea­son, edited by Martin Roveda and Sharon Pratt, also en­ter­tained the crowd as they re­lived the mo­ments which lead to the club’s dou­ble pre­mier­ship win.

The Whit­sun­day Raiders will be host­ing the Hogs Breath Rugby 7’s tour­na­ment at the Green En­ergy Whit­sun­day Sportspark on Satur­day 12th Oc­to­ber 2013.

GREAT SEA­SON: Best for­ward James Smith, most im­proved Bill Cross­ley, best and fairest Dom Ker­mac, best back Sott Vella, promis­ing ju­nior Raider Justin Chen­gody and life mem­ber Billy Kaka at the Whit­sun­day Raiders pre­sen­ta­tion din­ner at the Ju­bilee Tav­ern.

HOT TAL­ENT: Whit­sun­day Raiders A grade most im­proved Tom Dray, most points Martin Roveda, Raider of the Year Ron Cro­ker, best back and most tries San­ti­ago Dominguez-San­duo, Pablo Roveda and best for­ward Leam Wil­liams at their club pre­sen­ta­tion night on Satur­day.

GREAT DEDICATION: Billy Kaka has been an in­te­gral part of the Proser­pine Whit­sun­day Raiders since 1983 and was awarded with a life mem­ber­ship at the pre­sen­ta­tions night on Satur­day night.

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