ALL-TIMER: Thirroul skipper Joel Johnson claimed his third Paul McGregor Medal on Friday. Picture: Anna Warr
Story from: Illawarra Mercury
Mitch Jennings September 13 2019
After claiming the same gong last season he was the first back-to-back winner of the league’s top individual honour since Ron Anthony in 1983-84.
It goes with his first Paul McGregor Medal he claimed in a premiership winning season with the Butchers in 2012.
It also saw him claim a record fourth George Grofus Memorial Trophy as the league’s best forward, the second time he’s claimed the award in consecutive years.
It’s a fine individual cap to what will be his final season with the Butchers that ultimately ended poorly as minor premiers who went out of the finals in straight sets.
Butchers coach Jarrod Costello spoke to his No. 9’s influence after their season came to an end at the prelim final stage.
“Johnno’s been the best No. 9 in the comp, and probably country rugby league, by a country mile for five or six years,” Costello said.
“You watch the way he plays, there’s no garbage in his game he just plays really good tough footy.
“He’s been extremely loyal to myself and the club he’s a really, really good player and an even better bloke.”
Collegians fullback Alec Reid claimed the Frank Smith Trophy as the league’s best back in a standout year, while the Dogs and Butchers shared the rest of the major individual awards.
Hayden Crosland (Thirroul) and Brad Manton were dual winners of the Jack Royall Trophy as leading try-scorers (11) and there was also no splitting Jack Cross (Collegians) and Luke Gallagher (Thirroul) who had 80 points apiece to be joint-leading point-scorers.
Helensburgh stalwart Jasmine Sarin was the Women’s League Player of the Year after another stellar year with the Tigerlillies, while the Burgh’s Cameron Fettell won the Alex Jack Memorial Trophy as under 18s player of the year.
Milton-Ulladulla pair Meg Buchanan and Keele Brown were joint-winners of the under 18s women’s player of the year while Windang’s Dean Hodgson was Shiel player of the year.