Murray scoops awards
By GREG WHITE
IN a break from tradition, Group 2 announced their major award winners at the end of the grand finals rather then keep them for an annual dinner.
President Greg Mayhew said it was an opportunity for winners to be acclaimed by their peers and supporters.
"When held at night they were hidden from view," he explained.
"Now they get direct appreciation from the fans."
Woolgoolga five-eigth Arthur Murray capped an outstanding season with a double whammy, the Group best and fairest along with the Rex Hardaker Memorial Trophy for player of the year.
"It came as a huge shock to me," an excited Murray said.
"To be considered for the award when there are so many great players about makes me truly thankful."
Surprised at how well the Seahorses had gone, Murray feels they'll go even closer to taking the title in 2006.
"It's all about experience," he said, "and delivering surprises to rivals when you play."
As for experience, few have as much as Axemen legend Brendan Moran who ended a wonderful career with a reserve grade premiership and the Group best and fairest award.
"Believe it or not, I ended up playing alongside blokes I'd coached in juniors," Moran said.
"Kids like Sam Gilchrist and Jacob Vanderdonk are the future.
"They'll take the place of the likes of Brad Hart who is close to the best I've played with."
The Under 18 award finished a tie between Sawtell's Brent Cullen and Jack Lhuede of Nambucca Heads.
Signed this week by Cronulla, the Rooster's backline sensation described "consistency" as his greatest asset this season.
"The opportunity to play first grade was a bonus," Lhuede said.
"But I found it a big jump in standard and took some time to find my feet."
Cullen has set his sights on the jumper recently vacated by the recently retired Kris Watson.
"Kris and Wal (Craig Wallace) have been a great help, talking to me and offering tips to improve my game," he said.
"It would be wonderful if I ended up with Kris's old job."
Major award winner Arthur Murray this week added another honour to his growing tally being named his club's first grade 'best and fairest.