South Darwin’s David Boyle became the seventh player to receive NT Rugby’s Best & Fairest Award a second time by winning the Eric Johnston Medal at Crocosaurus Cove on Sunday Night.
Boyle won the award in 2013 and joins the illustrious company of Alan Ratahi, Andre Thomas, Chris Hodson, Colin Snowden, Stewart Boland & Kris Shirley as two time winners of NT Rugby’s highest honour.
A neck injury forced Boyle to miss the 2016 season however as co-coach of the Rabbitohs First Grade he tasted Premiership success.
Zac Phillips and Ryan McMurray polled highly with the final result determined in Round 15
The Dan Panapa Reserve Grade Best & Fairest was won by Casuarina veteran Sam Batty while the Naomi Roberts Medal for the Women’s Player of the Year was presented to Ingrid Aretupe.
Robert Butcher won his second Craig Leach Mosquito MVP with both the 7s and XVs Coaches nominating him for the award which he also won back in 2009. Butcher is also a past winner of the Eric Johnston Medal and was the Willie Ellison Medallist in 2009 for Best on Ground in the Grand Final.
Joe Albert was announced the David Cooper Coach of the Year following his successful assistant coach role with the Mosquitoes and guiding Casuarina to today’s Grand Final in his first year as a coach.
Todd McManus from Dragons had a stellar first season in Grade and was an obvious choice for the Tawera Kerr-Barlow Medal as NT Rugby’s Rising Star while Tara Cole won the female equivalent as the Bo de la Cruz Emerging Talent.
Two Sarah’s were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the game.
Sarah Moran took on Management and Sports Trainer roles with the NT Goannas, Mosquitoes and Schoolboys and was justly presented the Brian Anderson Volunteer of the Year Award.
Sarah France won the Vince Kelly Regional Achievement Award. Based in Alice Springs as CARU President, France administered the registration of all four clubs, competition management in rugbylink, maintained effective social media and organised the first representative tour by a CARU XV in many years.
Rob Taylor converted his Most Improved Referee in 2016 to Referee of the Year in 2017 while the Most Improved this year was judged to be Ethan Muller who also plays in the Under 15 Competition for Casuarina.
The Junior Referee which was only introduced last year again went to a Palmerston junior with Aidan Holt receiving the award following Eddie Weaver success as the inaugural winner.
Other Awards Presented; Abele Atunaisa (First Grade Leading Try Scorer) Zac Phillips (First Grade Leading Point Scorer), Jake Rainer/Pai Tuilaep (Reserve Grade Leading Try Scorers) Shane Crowley (Reserve Grade Leading Point Scorer)