The Newcastle Knights has celebrated the success of its junior talent at the 2015 Junior Presentation night on Wednesday at Wests Leagues Club in New Lambton.
The most anticipated accolade of the night, the Brian Carlson Club Andrew Johns Medal was awarded to young talent, Tom Starling.
Starling was a standout performer in the Knights’ SG Ball side as a creative and courageous hooker with a high level of skill, thirst for knowledge and highly respected teammate.
This year’s awards night also featured the inaugural presentation of the Carlson Club Danny Buderus Encouragement Award to Mathew Smith. Smith has been identified as a player of the future and a Knight that shows skill with the ball, versatility and competes above his weight.
Both the Knights' Anthony Gleeson coached Harold Matthew’s and Trevor Ott and Todd Edwards coached SG Ball teams enjoyed strong finishes to their seasons with the SG Ball Knights placing in the top eight and progressing to the quarterfinals.
The Harold Matthews Player of the Year Award was jointly received by Tex Hoy and Matthew Croker with SG Ball Player of the Year accepted by Tom Starling.
Among the awards night special guests were former premiership winning coach and current Director of Football, Michael Hagan as well as head coach Rick Stone.
Stone spoke about the value and importance of fostering junior talent at the Club as well as the proven pathways to play NRL football at the Knights.
"We are really proud to be a developing Club," Stone said.
"We are seeing more juniors playing in our NRL team and we need our juniors to push through.
"Sione Mata'utia was one of the players here a couple of years ago as an under 16s and he's now a regular first grader and has already played for his country.
"The courage and committment to the jumper from our juniors has been really impressive."
FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS
Brian Carlson Club Andrew Johns Award - Tom Starling (nominees - Jayden Butterfield, Tom Starling and Sam Stone)
Harold Matthews Player of the Year - Tex Hoy and Matthew Croker
SG Ball Player of the Year - Tom Starling
Danny Buderus Encouragement - Mathew Smith
Harold Matthews Coaches Award - Brock Gardner
SG Ball Coaches Award - Jayden Butterfield
Harold Matthews Excalibur Club Players’ Player Award - Matthew Croker
SG Ball Excalibur Club Players’ Player Award - Tom Starling
Harold Matthews Strength and Encouragement Award- Max Bovis
SG Ball Strength and Encouragement Award- Malik Deyalou
Harold Matthews Speed and Agility Award - Mathew Smith
SG Ball Speed and Agility Award - Lyndon Hills