Star fly-half named Raider of the Year

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

RUGBY UNION

IT WAS a flaw­less sea­son for the Whit­sun­day Raiders, led by Raider of the Year and co-cap­tain Shan­non Wol­land.

Orig­i­nally from New Zealand, Wol­land was one of the stars of the Mackay and Dis­trict Rugby Union com­pe­ti­tion, ex­celling from no. 10 to lead the Raiders to back-to­back ti­tles.

“It was a re­ally good sea­son for the Raiders,” he said.

“It’s good to have a tight group of lads with great coaches...it’s a great club. For all the club has been through, the peo­ple who have been here for a while en­joyed it [win­ning back-to-back premier­ships]. To go un­de­feated showed how com­mit­ted ev­ery­one was.”

Wol­land started play­ing rugby in the back­yard with his sis­ter aged five, be­fore pro­gress­ing to school-grade union across the Tas­man.

When he turned 21 Wol­land left New Zealand for Aus­tralia, and even played a cou­ple of sea­sons of AFL in coun­try Western Aus­tralia.

After spend­ing time play­ing Gold Coast rugby and even with neigh­bours Kut­tabul, Wol­land fi­nally found his right­ful home with the Raiders.

Wol­land, who was in­stru­men­tal in the club romp­ing through the 2014 sea­son un­de­feated, said he was proud of this year’s cam­paign from a per­sonal per­spec­tive. “I was prob­a­bly more con­sis­tent,” he said. “Be­ing cap­tain I tried to help the other boys more and re­ally lead them.”

Mov­ing for­ward Wol­land said he is keen to hang around, and po­ten­tially guide the Raiders to an un­prece­dented three-peat.

“I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to try and hang around. It’s a great club and it feels like one big fam­ily,” he said.

Wol­land also praised coach Kon Fla­herty, who stepped up to the mark mid-sea­son after Isitolo Maka left due to per­sonal rea­sons.

RAIDER OF THE YEAR: Whit­sun­day Raiders' fly-half Shan­non Wol­land was crowned this year's Raider of the Year at pre­sen­ta­tions last month.

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