The 2016 Junior Representative season officially concluded for the Illawarra Steelers with the successful staging of their annual presentation evening at Illawarra Leagues Club on Wednesday.
In an event that celebrated the efforts of all players and staff from the 2016 Junior Steelers Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams, it also recognised those who excelled with four major awards being presented on the night.
Harold Matthews Head Coach Adam Blake announced the worthy recipient of his Coach’s Award to be Rhys Sherlock, whilst Dragons NRL Football Manager Ben Haran had the honour of announcing the 2016 Harold Matthews Cup Player of the Year, which was awarded to winger Joseph Dickson.
Dickson received his award from St George Illawarra Dragons centre Euan Aitken, who only two years ago was an Illawarra Steelers SG Ball Cup player himself.
Aitken also offered some simple advice to the players on the night.
“The best piece of advice I can give you all, is to listen to your coaches as they’re here for a reason and want to see you succeed," said Aitken.
Shaun Timmins presented the 2016 SG Ball Cup Coach’s Award to the ever consistent Matheson Johns, while Steelers and Dragons Board member Bob Millward OAM announced skipper Hayden Lomax as the 2016 Illawarra Steelers SG Ball Cup Player of the Year.
Lomax received his award, the Rick Posetti Memorial Trophy, from St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach, Paul McGregor on behalf of the Posetti family.
McGregor emphasized that a lot of hard work and dedication is required to get to the top level.
“The career path into the NRL is not impossible but it take a lot of hard work and dedication," said McGregor.
"There are a lot of blokes in this room with a tremendous amount of potential and I will no doubt see some of you progress further."
Other special presenters on the night included BJ Mather (NSWRL General Manager), Ian Millward (Dragons Pathways Director), Dave Warwick (Dragons Recruitment and Retention Manager).
A final surprise presentation of a framed Steelers jersey from Bob Millward OAM was made to long serving Junior Representative Manager Neil Lovett, who will retire at season's end.