Jim Beam Cup Player of the Year

Sydney Bulls centre Allan Burns has been named 2005 Jim Beam Cup Player of the Year at last night?s lavish function held at Le Montage function centre at Leichhardt.

The 22 year old Burns has reached the top the long way, playing junior football with Riverwood and playing Jersey Flegg Cup with the Western Suburbs Magpies before he was joined by the Bulls in 2002.

A stunned Burns paid tribute to his team mates, who overcame a slow start to the season to claim the minor premiership.

?It?s a great honour to receive such an award when there are so many good players in the competition. I have to thank my team mates who have obviously played a big part in me achieving this honour and to coach David Bayssari, who has given me great encouragement this year.?

The Bulls? bid for back to back premierships hit a snag, though, when they were defeated by Windsor in last Saturday?s major semi final.

That means they now have to get over the top of Wentworthville at Ringrose Park in this Saturday?s preliminary final if they are to get a chance to defend their Jim Beam Cup title against Windsor in the Jim Beam Cup Grand Final, scheduled for Sunday September 25 at Telstra Stadium.

The memory of the 2004 Grand Final still burns bright within Burns and is his motivation for tomorrow.

?Last year?s Grand Final was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere at Telstra Stadium was amazing enough but to score the winning try against the favourites made it extra special.?

?We know Wenty will be tough ? they have some big forwards and plenty of speed and experience in the backs. If our forwards can match them I reckon we?ll be right.?

To cap a great night for Burns, he was also named in the Jim Beam Cup representative squad which will play Country Firsts at Wollongong on September 26 before undertaking a tour of New Zealand.

?I had my fingers crossed when they were announcing the team, because I had set rep selection as one of my goals and it will be a tremendous experience to join the other players in the team. I?m looking forward to the tour and hope to learn as much as possible from the whole experience.?

Before facing the Kiwis, however, he must first help the Bulls overcome Wentworthville in what shapes as an appropriately dramatic penultimate match in the 2005 Jim Beam Cup.