TUDOR Wests’ Sam Lobsey and Joe Maguires Waratahs’ Jess Thomas received some consolation for grand final defeat on Sunday.
Both picked up the best and fairest accolades for their respective competitions, Thomas jointly with Services coach Kimmy Hill.
They finished with 19 points, two ahead of Flames’ Renae Gleeson, with Olympians duo Namoi Sparke and Alice Arnott in equal third on 16.
“It was very unexpected,” Thomas said.
She’s been a big part of Waratahs’ success this year, which culminated in them reaching their first-ever first grade grand final.
“It was a great day,” Thomas said. “Great to be in the grand final and great to win this award.”
They put up a real fight against 13-times defending champions Flames and at half-time were on top – thanks to Maddie Cryer and their defence.
“Our defence did amazingly. They did such a great job to keep it 1-nil,” Thomas said.
She said the mood at half-time was “really positive”, even though the hot conditions were taking their toll.
“But in 35 minutes, things can change,” she said.
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Which they did, with Flames by 10 minutes in a goal up.
Even still, Waratahs almost managed to scramble a leveller and push the game into extra time.
“Towards the end we had a few shots on goal but we couldn’t connect,” Thomas said.
This year was her eighth with Waratahs and, without question, their best.
There were a few factors for that, Thomas thought.
One of those was they worked a lot harder than in previous years.
That came to fruition in the latter part of the season, with Waratahs losing only one of their last nine and coming from fourth to make the grand final.
Tudors’ men also had a great season. They made their first grand final since 2009.
Lobsey was one of the big reasons for that and was a runaway winner for the best and fairest.
He finished with 34 points. The next best was Services Workies’ Sam Liles and Armidale City’s Sam Constance on 18.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Lobsey said.
He also took it out last year and while “really happy to get the award” said it was a lot to do with the 10 other guys on the field.
On Sunday they were chasing their first title since 2008 and put themselves in a position to do that.
But Workies struck three quick late blows to make it five straight.
Despite seeming to have the better of the first half, Lobsey said it felt a bit off.
“We weren’t confident,” he said,
Even though they had a lot of possession, there was something lacking.
He said at half-time they spoke about controlling it and working hard, and getting back into the game, which they did.
Defensively they were again good, and really closed down Workies’ options – until the last five minutes anyway.
“Our heads dropped and we let them loose, and the gaps opened up,” Lobsey said.
The loss was tempered a bit by the feeling that they are building something.
“The way the second grade boys played to win today, there’s a lot of good young boys coming through,” Lobsey said.
“There’ll be some competition for spots in first grade next year.”