Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
Tough second rower Bill Najjarin won the Sydney Airport Jets Premier League best and fairest award for 2003, at the Jets' annual presentation night held recently at the Hurstville Ritz Hotel. Bill came to Newtown from St.George-Illawarra at the beginning of 2002, and started last season as a winger. Jets Premier League coach Colin Murphy quickly spotted his potential, and Bill became one of the stand-out forwards in the high standard NSWRL Premier League competition this year. A real crowd favourite at Henson Park, Najjarin impressed all season with his determined running and uncompromising defence. Newtown's Premier League players' player award was shared between classy half-back Craig Field and workhorse front-rower Tabua Cakacaka. Rookie of the year for 2003 was won by former Penrith junior Andrew Le Breton, and the Coach's award by hard-working second rower Tony Phillips. In the Jim Beam Cup, utility player Mark Fakahua won the Best and Fairest trophy, with front-rower Lee Trasler taking out the players' player award. Second rower Warren Weiss was a popular winner of the coach's award, following his lengthy rehabilitation from a bad leg injury in 2002. Other award recipients were Premier League players Troy Barnes (top points scorer) and Alf Duncan (top try scorer). Ryan Milligan received a commemorative plaque in recognition of his setting a new club record for the number of points scored by a player in one match (30, from 2 tries and 11 goals). Ryan surpassed Tom Kirk's 1944 record of 25 points. Long serving stalwart Luke Ellis was given a special award to mark his 100th game with the Newtown club. The Clubman of the Year award was shared between genuine good guys Scott Frater and that indefatigable raffle ticket seller, Sammy Samaha. Trevor Schodel, who played both Premier League and Jim Beam Cup fixtures, as well as taking over the Jim Beam Cup coaching duties during the season, was a worthy winner of the Fred Daly Memorial Award. This award goes to the player and/or coach who has delivered meritorious service to the Newtown club. Former Newtown and NSW representative front-rower and 2003 club sponsor Steve Bowden generously hosted the entire evening at his palatial Hurstville Ritz Hotel, and the occasion was without doubt a great success. There was an excellent attendance of club sponsors, who all received due praise for their generous assistance to Australia's oldest Rugby League in its 96th season.