In all of Far North Coast Rugby Union, Ben's the best
WOLLONGBAR-Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen capped a memorable season when he was awarded the best and fairest honour at the Far North Coast Rugby Union presentation.
He became the first Wollongbar player to win the award since Ben Grayndler in 2000.
Damen was a standout in a Pioneers side that won the grand final last month.
"It's always nice when the individual awards come but you can't win them without having a dominant side around you," Damen said.
"I was just fortunate enough to play behind a terrific forward pack and one of the best backlines our club has seen."
Damen missed only one game this season, while
he was away playing with the NSW Country Cockatoos.
He also set a club and zone record when he scored 55 points in a game against Southern Cross University.
He scored five tries and kicked 13 goals in what was also his 100th game at the club.
"I thought we (Wollongbar players) shared the best and fairest votes around a bit this year so I didn't think I would win," Damen said.
"I'll be around again next year and the big challenge is to create our own little dynasty similar to that of Ballina in the 1990s and Lennox Head in recent years."
It was no surprise to see Wollongbar-Alstonville pick up a handful of awards at the presentation.
Second-rower Steve Mison shared representative player of the year with Lennox Head front-rower Benn Wright.
The pair will join Damen on a two-week tour of the United States with the NSW Country team later this month.
Wollongbar won the club of the year award with winger James Vidler the top try-scorer.
Sam Kerry shared the best and fairest award with Lennox Head's Hayden Blair in under-18s.
Wollongbar president Ian Johnson was also awarded the zone president award.
Grafton halfback Brett Graham was the second-grade best and fairest while Evans Head centre Anthony Robinson took the honours in the President's Cup competition.