KIERAN Fisher thought this journalist was pulling his leg when told he’d been awarded the three points in The Northern Daily Leader Group 4 Player of the Year Award.
The Bears halfback had just helped his side to a 48-18 win over West Lions at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday and had no idea the Group 4 officials had voted him their best and fairest from teammate Nic Dobson (2) and West lock Phil Beaton (1).
It took a little perseverance to follow the halfback out of the celebrating Bears shed and onto the grass outside before he accepted it wasn’t a joke.
Coach Brad McManus’s nodding presence also helped.
Fisher, 25, is a second-year apprentice linesman with Central Energy.
He’s also been serving his time in the Bears halves for the past few seasons.
On Saturday he might have been the only Bear back not to score a try but he had a hand in a few and went close himself once to what could have been the try of the year.
He was dismissive of his own performance but his quick hands and good service set up many plays for the Bears.
His darting runs too, along with some strong defence, earned him the first three-pointer of the G4 first grade season.
Fisher was more keen on his teammates, new and old.
“We’ve had the makings of a good side for a while. It was just a matter of putting it together,” he said.
“Not much has changed from last year.
“We’ve got the same group of guys with a couple of additions.
“Having Fergs (former captain-coach Shaun Ferguson) back is going to be great.
“His experience is going to be great for us.
“And Abel went good too.”
Abel was new five-eighth Abel Carney.
“I’ve played against him for a while and he has good experience too,” Fisher said.
“We’ve been working on our combination.”
The Bears, while having the nucleus of the same side for a few years, are still improving, an ominous sign for the other five clubs, as the Bears are the competition favourites.
“So far so good,” Fisher added.
He thinks the Bear pack, under Marshall Barker, can only improve in the coming weeks.
Such was his thinking on Saturday he gave his Bear players’ player award point to big prop Bill Jeffery but it was exciting winger Callum Hayne who picked up the club award from Fisher, Jeffery and Dobson.
Halves dominated the first round of the Player of the Year award, with Narrabri’s new number seven, Justin Knight, and Gunnedah’s DJ Smith polling the three points in their sides’ big wins.
Knight scored a try and kicked 10 goals for a 24-point haul in the Blues’ 68-16 opening-round win over Wee Waa Panthers at Captain Cook Oval, Wee Waa.
DJ Smith scored a try and kicked 12 goals for a 28-point haul in the Bulldogs’ big 88-30 win over new boys Oxley Diggers at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah.
Group 4 coach Mick Schmiedel polled the two points for the Diggers club he helped create after being retired for a decade.