Gutsy hooker Anthony Cowan waves his hat with prde after being named John Mackay Medal-winner in today's grand final.
Gutsy hooker Anthony Cowan waves his hat with prde after being named John Mackay Medal-winner in today's grand final. Rob Wright

Little Ant is Mustangs big star

DIMINUTIVE Macleay hooker Anthony Cowan gave an inspirational performance in today's Group 2 grand final and was rewarded with the John 'Tank' Mackay Medal.

The memorial award is named after the late Sawtell hooker in honour of his immortal effort in the 1978 decider and Cowan's display was also something to savour.

In attack, he was magnificent and handled four times in the movement leading up to the try he scored in the 20th minute.

But it will be a couple of his defensive moments that will be long remembered.

Especially, shuddering one-on-one tackles made on Chris Carr, Bert Gray and Cameron Blair respectively - before assisting Cecil Lardner to spectacularly up-end Dion Marr in the in-goal, stopping the try that was supposed to have revived Nambucca's premiership hopes.

Cowan said the belief was in the side all year despite the faltering start.

"Even when we were smashed in the first few games we always knew we could go this far," he said.

"We got together at training each week and Willie said not to worry and keep working hard for this day.

"Once we got the structure right, we kept our heads and got there in the end."

When the role he played in the lead-up to that phenomenal touchdown in the 20th minute was mentioned, Cowan came over all modest - but the eyes were shining.

"I was always somewhere around the park and just got involved where I could," he grinned.

"Nothing really special, just what we like to do."



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