While not amongst the biggest forwards in the SG Ball competition, what Damon Smith lacks in size he more than makes up for with toughness, attitude and ability, with the young lock named the Sharks Junior Representative Player of the Year for 2019.
Smith, who was one of the shining lights for the Sharks Under-18’s during their recently completed season, took away the top honour at the annual Junior rep players presentation which was held at Sharks Leagues Club on Monday night.
Recognised and acknowledged on stage by Sharks NRL coach John Morris as a player who “competes on every play”, Smith joined an illustrious list of local juniors, which includes Chad Townsend, Blayke Brailey, Curtis Scott and last year’s winner Quincy Dodd, to have won the major club award.
On a night which was attended by Morris, Sharks General Manager of Football Phil Moss, High Performance Manager Andrew Gray, NRL Assistant coaches Jim Dymock and Daniel Holdsworth, Sharks NRL squad members Kyle Flanagan and Scott Sorensen, as well as Sharks Women’s Premiership and Jillaroos player Corban McGregor, awards were presented to the outstanding players in each of Tarsha Gale, Matthews Cup and SG Ball teams.
All three Sharks Junior rep teams qualified for finals, with the Matthews and Ball Sharks bowing out in week one, while the girls Tarsha Gale Sharks, who this year were defending premiers, were eliminated by Newcastle in week two of the Finals.
The first awards for the night were announced by Tarsha Gale coach Colin Dodd and presented by McGregor, with Kelly Gilmore taking out the coaches award, Jaime Chapman, who would go on to play for NSW in an under 18’s Origin match, the Player of the Year.
In the Matthews Cup, Kyle Flanagan was on stage to talk about his junior rep experiences and to assist coach Mick Hughes in handing out his awards, with the recipients front rower William Abou-Arrage as Coaches Award winner and backrower Sam Jinks the Player of the Year.
As for the SG Ball awards, while Smith was the choice as the Player of the Year, it was big back rower Kitione Kautoga, who still has another year in the under 18’s competition in 2020, named as Chris O’Connell’s Coaches Award winner.
Sorensen, himself another local junior to come through the ranks and progress to the NRL level, presented the SG Ball trophies.
And in a special honor recognising off-field work ethic and attitude as much as on-field performance, SG Ball’s Zane Jegers was named as the 2019 Wellbeing Award winner.
Sharks junior rep and under-20’s Wellbeing and Education Manager Ben Ross congratulated Jegers on his achievements and commitment throughout the year.
Parents, supporters and training staff from all three Sharks junior rep teams were also present amongst the crowd of almost 200 in the Showroom at Sharks Leagues Club.
Sharks Junior Representative Presentation Night
Junior Rep Player of the Year
SG Ball Player of the Year
SG Ball Coaches Award
Matthews Cup Player of the Year
Matthews Cup Coaches Award
Tarsha Gale Player of the Year
Tarsha Gale Coaches Award
Junior Rep Wellbeing Award
2019 NSWRL and NSW Schools representatives
NSW Under 16’s Pathways
NSW Under 18’s Girls Origin