GUNNEDAH Bulldogs received a double bonus when the local rugby league club snared two of the major prizes at the recent Gunnedah Shire Council Sports Awards.
Not only did club president Ray McCoy win the Volunteer of the Year Award, but new first grade coach Phil Donnelly won the Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Gunnedah Bulldog Under 18 side to a Group 4 premiership at Jack Woolaston Oval in Tamworth last August.
McCoy’s win was satisfying for a man who has been heavily involved in sport in Gunnedah for many years.
Now in his third yearas president of the Gunnedah Rugby Lea- gue Football Club he is hoping to lift that club’s first grade side to prominence in Group 4 next year, along with new first grade coach Phil “Muscles” Donnelly.
A former player with Gunnedah, Ray is also a qualified trainer/first aid officer.
Last season he was head trainer of the Group 4 Under 16s, who won their Country Cluster, and head trainer for the Gunnedah Rugby Club.
In previous years he has also been head trainer for the ARL Aboriginal Knockout Competition. and the Newcastle Yowies Aboriginal Knockout Competition.
A Director of the Group 4 Rugby League Management Committee Mr McCoy also has a passion for helping Gunnedah’s youth through his role as an Activity Officer for the Gunnedah PCYC.
“I’m absolutely stoked with the award,” Mr McCoy said.
“I’ve had quite a few calls from people.”
“It’s unbelievable what he does around town,” Phil Donnelly said of McCoy.
“He’s got his finger in everything. He is president of the league and then last season he was trainer for the rugby union. He just loves what he does.”
Mr Donnelly was unable to attend the Sports Awards presentations at the Civic Centre last week and “blames” McCoy for organising his Coach of the Year Award.
It runs hand-in-glove with a life membership of the Gunnedah Rugby League Football Club earlier this year.
“It’s been a good year,” Mr Donnelly said. “I hope it goes just as well next year.”
He coached the Under 18s to a Group 4 title this year and takes the first grade reins next year for his second stint as senior coach.
“Yeah, I coached them before,” he said. “Had one fair year and then a disastrous year.”
He’s been training the first grade squad for three weeks already with some sessions in the local pool and is delighted by the fitness of some of his keen young players.
While delighted with his award Mr McCoy was disappointed by the lack of promotion of the Sports Awards.
He’s hoping they might return to their former prestige of a dinner and big celebratory night to honor the many talented athletes.
“We didn’t have a male Sports Star of the Year this year,” he said.
“That’s not good. I’d hope we can return to the days when it was a prestigious sports awards night.”
OFFICIALS OF THE YEAR: PETER AND ROBYN LOUIS
Unstinting in their coaching and administering junior tennis in Gunnedah for more than 20 years.
COACH OF THE YEAR: PHILLIP DONNELLY
Has an outstanding record as a coach with the Gunnedah Bulldogs Rugby League Club, spearheading teh Bulldog Under 18s to a Group 4 premiership in 2012.
TEAM OF THE YEAR: GUNNEDAH RUGBY UNION RESERVE GRADE
Won the Central North second grade premiership with a 32-17 victory over Walcha Rams, the club’s first title in almost 40 years.
SUB JUNIOR FEMALE SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR: ASHLEE VAN OS
An outstanding softballer who made various representative sides, including NSW Country Under 15s
JUNIOR FEMALE SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR: MEGAN ISBESTER
Outstanding triathlete and cross country runner who won a NSW All Schools Triathlon and was second in the Australian Youth Championships as well as winning Gunnedah Gallop in 29mins 2secs.
JUNIOR MALE SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR: BEN GUNTER
Talented rugby union player who repesented NSW Country in 2011 and 2012.
FEMALE SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR: LAUREN ROBERTSON
Secretary of the Gunnedah & District Cycling & Triathlon Club represented Australia at the World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand in the Sprint Distance and Olympic Distance categories; was a medal winner in the NSW State Championships in the Sprint Distance. Also inducted onto the honour Board for Triathlon Australia.