THE Sapphire Coast AFL’s night of nights was held on Wednesday with everyone hanging out to find out the year’s best and fairest.
The Club Championship is also a coveted prize, but it was likely not a surprise when the Pambula Panthers name was called for the honour.
However, just a two-year young club, the Bega Bombers featured in the awards night in two major categories.
The SCAFL Rookie of the Year was awarded to Dale Leahy, while senior coach Matt Fleet was named the AFL NSW/ACT Sapphire Coast Volunteer of the Year.
As for the best and fairest, the pinnacle title was claimed by Pambula’s Aaron Proctor, but Bomber Chris Dwyer was third in the tally.
Fleet, who couldn’t attend the night, said he was grateful for the honour, but said there were more deserving people at the club.
“I would have turned around and said there has been a bloke by my side who gets no credit every single week,” Fleet said.
“He washes the gear, he sets the ground up and time keeps occasionally, that’s Johnny Cafe, he is the pinnacle of what volunteers are all about.”
Fleet said it was thanks to the work of volunteers like Cafe and other members of the club that almost 90 people have been able to play footy in Bega each week.
“It’s been two years of effort from him and I can’t thank him enough,” Fleet said.
“They’re the kind of people that put in their time for the Bombers and Cafe is one of many.”
Fleet also spoke highly of Dale Leahy’s efforts this season and was proud to associate him with the Bombers.
“I was really glad the guys went along, that was the first official league medal for the Bombers through Dale,” Fleet said.
“It was his first year with the Bombers and his first year in senior footy.
“I don’t think Dale has missed a game all year and he seldom misses a training, he just gets on with the job,” he said.
Leahy has proved to be one of the quiet achievers for the Bega Bombers with consistenly good performances all season long.
“He is what every young player should strive to be, what a terrific young bloke,” Fleet said.
Fleet also congratulated Bermagui’s Brent Ohlin, who was named the Senior Coach of the Year.
“What an effort, from not even being in the comp to being possibly a week away from playing in the final, it’s a tremendous effort by Brent.”
The awards for Bega lay a solid foundation for the Bombers to develop in the coming seasons.
“There has been a lot of things go badly this season for different reasons,” Fleet said.
“But we’ll be around next year, the kids are playing this weekend, the numbers are great and the future is bright.”