Byron Bay defender turns the tide
By MARK ROBINSON
BYRON BAY's Aaron Richter-Steers has struck a blow for defenders by being named The Northern Star Far North Coast soccer Player of the Year.
The award was announced at the Soccer FNC annual presentation night at the Lismore Workers Club on Saturday.
Richmond Rovers' Renee McIntosh took out the double for the women, Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner after scoring a remarkable 28 goals during the season.
Richter-Steers is one of only a handful of defenders to have won the award since its inception.
Goonellabah striker Peter O'Neill won the men's Golden Boot by a landslide, notching 23 goals, a massive 12 more than his nearest rivals, team-mate Ben Andrews and a former two-time winner, Italo Stars' Wayne Mortimer.
The men's Coach of the Year went to Peter Ware, from Byron Bay, who took the Rams to second place on the ladder, equalling the club's best previous performance.
In the Women's Premier League, Lismore Workers coach Dave Condon took the honours as Coach of the Year after six years' service to the women's team.
Referee of the Year was Glenn Gibbs, while Bangalow stalwart Nick Rudgley was awarded the Birmingham Dedication to Soccer Award for decades of service to his club and to the game.
The club championship went to Alston-ville, largely due to the widespread success of their women's and girls' sides.
Open division Golden Boot winners were: men's ? Matthew Flaherty (Woodburn); women's ? tie between Tracy Want (Thistles) and Courtney Nelson (Alstonville).
As usual, much interest centred on the announcement of the ZZZ Premier Team, which was:
Goalkeeper Brett Chaplin (Goonellabah).
Backs: Aaron Richter-Steers (Byron Bay), Russell Dent (Richmond Rovers), Damien Keevers (Workers), Stewart Coughran (Casino).
Midfielders: Anthony Alvos (Workers), Darren Beardow (Thistles), Kevin Crofton (Maclean).
Strikers: Peter O'Neill (Goonellabah), Ben Andrews (Goonellabah), Wayne Mortimer (Italo Stars).
Coach: Peter Ware (Byron Bay).