The players, committee, sponsors and supporters should all be proud of the Thirroul Rugby League Football Clubs’ achievements in 2018. The strength of our club is a testament to the contribution of each of these groups and resulted in all our senior teams making the semi’s this year.
In the first year of Open League Tag, two smaller competitions were held. The Butchers girls won the first ever Open League Tag premiership and were narrowly defeated in the second. The girls displayed a heap of skill and commitment throughout the season and with a mix of youth and experience, they will be a force for years to come. Paul Hatchell deserves a special mention for almost single handedly organizing theteam at short notice.
It was no surprise to see our Under 18s play some great football this year. Guided by Brent Grose with the help of Phil Ostwald, the team is full of some great young players. Many of the team helped out in the higher grades with Aaron Schoupp, Ben Fulton and Connor Mulheisen all making their First Grade debuts. Unfortunately, they lost a tight Final 12 – 10 to Collies, but the future looks bright.
Our 2nd Grade side may have started the season slowly, but they can certainly be proud of the way they finished it. Storming into the semi’s they went within one game of the Grand Final. The club’s depth was stretched at different times throughout the season, but the players who filled in really helped this late season surge and should be commended. Danny Ostwald retired as coach after the season and we thank him for his efforts. I am sure he won’t be totally lost to the club.
For our First Grade side, it was so close and yet so far. To be down 18 – nil at half time they were entitled to start thinking of next year. To their credit the Butchers lifted and with momentum on their side looked like running over the Devils. Unfortunately, they fell short losing 18 – 16 in a game that could have went either way. However, listening to the talk in the days and weeks after the Grand Final, I think this narrow loss may galvanize the playing group for years to come. A big thank you to Jarrod Costello and his team for all their hard work.
The club would like to recognize some individual achievements in 2018, none bigger than Joel Johnson being awarded the Paul McGregor Medal for the 1stGrade Player of the Year. This was Joel’s second PM medal and he also played his 100thFirst Grade Game for the Club this year. At the same award ceremony Jye Richards was deservedly named 2nd Grade Player of the Year. Joel Ruskin is to be commended for his long term commitment to the Butchers, playing his 150thFirst Grade game and Tom Simpson was selected in the Under 23s Illawarra South Coast Dragons to play in the Country Championships. Our major club award winners for 2018 were Michael Morris (First grade Player of the Year), Mitchell Francis (2ndGrade Player of the Year), Riley Graham (under 18 Player of the Year), Taylor Morris (League Tag Player of the Year) and Phil Ostwald (Clubman of the Year).