Langer Trophy Justin Hodges Medal player of the year
Author : Andrew Dawson Quest Newspapers
Who has been named the Justin Hodges Medal winner for Langer Trophy-NRL Schoolboys Cup player of the year? This year we have joint winners.
The NSW equivalent of Queenslands Justin Hodges Medal is the Peter Sterling Medal (OurFootyteam)
Palm Beach Currumbin SHS fullback Keano Kini and Marsden SHS lock and captain Chris Faagutu are joint winners of the Justin Hodges Medal for player of the year.
Kini capped a remarkable debut season in the Langer Trophy with another wholehearted performance in PBC SHS’s NRL Schoolboys Cup grand final victory over Marsden SHS on Wednesday.
Marsden SHS’s Faagutu was typically even-tempered and stoic on grand final day.
PBC SHS’s win means they will now play the winner of the northern conference, St Brendan’s College Yeppoon, who also won a last-gasp thriller of Kirwan SHS in yesterday’s Payne Cup grand final.
That match will be played on September 15, and will again be livestreamed by News Corp around the state, including www.couriermail.com.au, the Gold Coast Bulletin and through the Rockhampton region.
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Last year’s inaugural Justin Hodges Medal winner was Wavell SHS fullback Corey Thomas.
The medal is named after Hodges, a Brisbane Broncos and Queensland State of Origin champion who was also a Roosters premiership winning player.
A Gold Coast Titans signing, Kini was brilliant as a fullback but became an even more influential player when he was invited by his coach Tim Maccan to also ball play in the front line.
That doubled his potency and enabled him to impact both sides of the field – albeit as a runner and creator..
“Keano has been a massive part of our success this year and has really worked hard on his positional play in defence and returning the ball with purpose to set up our attack,’’ said PBC SHS coach Tim Maccan.
Maccan said Keano’s ability to be on the ball in attack and support in the middle or take on the line made him a dangerous attacking threat.
“He will only improve again next season.’’
Maccan said it was a big sacrifice for his family to move to the Gold Coast from New Zealand at the start of the year “to help their son play at the highest level in schoolboy rugby league’’.
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Faagutu was a model of consistency and fair play throughout the season and is highly respected.
An astute signing by the Wests Tigers, Faagutu is a mobile middle forward whose ruck running, support play and speed made him a handful all season.
The year 11 student thanked his team mates and family for their support of his career.
“It is an honour to receive this award. I love being captain of the Marsden Makos and without my team, I wouldn’t have achieved this honour.
“It has been an amazing journey and I would like to thank my family for all the support to this point.
“All credit to my mum and dad because without them up my backside I wouldn’t be the player I am today,’’ he said.
Marsden SHS coach Matt Hartigan said Faagutu was a “phenomenal young man’’.
“I have seen him come through the Marsden system across the last five years and I love his attitude and his attention to detail.
“He is a hard worker and deserves every success that comes his way.’’
Broncos Challenge grand finals (Carina Easts Leagues)
2pm: Broncos Old Boys (Year 7)
Marsden SHS v Ipswich SHS
3pm: Renouf Cup (Year 8)
Marsden SHS v PBC SHS
4pm: Hancock Cup (Year 9)
Keebra Park SHS v PBC SHS
Walters Cup grand final:
PBC SHS v Keebra Park SHS
Langer Reserves grand final
Marsden SHS v Wavell SHS
September 15: Phil Hall Cup (Redcliffe)
St Brendan’s v PBC SHS
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