By Geoff Newling
WEST Lions completed a brilliant season with an emotional presentation night that was highlighted by two of the club’s match-winning forwards lifting the main awards.
Chris Vidler received the Tony La Chiusa Trophy for the Lions best and fairest while Scott Rolls took home the Darren Coleman Players’ Player Award.
Both had big seasons with Vidler named man of the match in the West Lions’ 33-24 grand final win over North Tamworth.
The rampaging prop reckons he will retire but his retiring coach, Tony La Chiusa, hopes he stays on.
“Vids has come a long way,” La Chiusa said.
“He’s at the peak of his career. He’s helped keep the team together the last couple of years too. Playing great football.”
Luke Byres won the coaches’ award for his efforts on and off the field.
Chris Hunt was named the Lions most consistent player, Sean Nean was the leading tryscorer and Mitch Doring was named rookie of the year.
Brendan Hunt, first grade skipper in the grand final, was named clubman of the year.
“Brendo is one of the most successful captains we’ve ever had,” La Chiusa said.
“He was also the club treasurer this year and helped us get out of a bit of a hole.”
La Chiusa who also said he’s retiring after a coaching spell that started in 1995 with the West Lions seconds in their initial year.
After coaching the second grade again in 1996 he took over as first grade coach in 1997 and led the club to seven first grade premierships, five of them in succession from 2009.
To mark his retirement the Lions presented him with a magnificent signed and framed jersey with all the signatures of the players.
“It was sensational,” La Chiusa said.
“I wasn’t expecting that. A lot of people came back for the presentation as well and that made it a great night for me. Very humbling. And to get such a magnificent trophy blew me away.
“There’s been a hell of a lot of hard work but it’s great seeing all the people here. And a lot of the good kids are coming through too.
“It makes next week’s centenary reunion something to really look forward to.”
Capping off the big night was the awarding of life membership to Adam Miller.
“He’s had 12 years as a player, racked up more games than anyone else,” La Chiusa said.
“They also made a special presentation to Matty Nean for playing in all five grand final wins.”