Gifted Carroll wins top gong
LIAM Carroll confirmed his status as a rising AFL star while Matt Newton showed he still has star status at the North Coast AFL senior presentation night in Coffs Harbour.
Carroll, 18, walked away with the Port Magpies' first best-and-fairest trophy since 2006 when, ironically, it was Newton winning the seniors' gong.
In a year where his team was runner-up, Carroll displayed great maturity in his under-18 team but also proved a valuable asset to Scott Payne in the seniors.
He also picked up the goalkicking trophy for the junior outfit with 25 majors to his credit.
The evergreen Newton took out the senior goalkicking award, booting 52 in only 10 home-and-away matches as he nursed his 33-year-old body through the rigours of another season.
He saved his best for arch-rival North Coffs, kicking two bags of 10 goals on separate occasions in June and July, but was a handful for every backline in the competition.
Other Magpie local performers of note at the league's awards night included Greg Dean, who came equal fourth in the first grade vote count.
Another great achievement was the effort of 14-year-old Conor Haswell to poll third in the under-18s vote count despite his tender years and slight frame.
Haswell has already been earmarked as a star of the future and will be a part of the Swans Academy moving forward.
At club level, the high point of an emotional and successful 2011 season came when John Stangherlin and Michael Tritton were named as the inaugural winners of the Paul Sheldon 'Magpie of the Year' award.
Stangherlin was unable to add words to the honour while Tritton paid tribute to the entire club for the efforts in moving ahead this year and to the Sheldon family who were in attendance and remain the club's spiritual guides.
In a year of re-building after the sudden and tragic passing of 2011 club president Paul Sheldon, general manager Craig Carroll also praised the work of the volunteers.
Shannon Skreja and club stalwart Anthony Beasley were rewarded for their decade-plus service records with life memberships to the club.