HE didn’t get the premiership he wanted on Saturday but Walcha’s Lachlan Brown did pick up some silverware.
The Rams number eight has long been considered one of the best players in the competition and reiterated that again this season, taking out the best and fairest.
It’s the second time Brown has won the award. He won it back in 2010.
He’s also been runner-up on a few occasions, and was to another number eight Conrad Starr (Pirates) last year.
This season he was rarely out of the points and it was almost a given that he was mentioned as among the Rams’ best.
Still, it did come as a bit of a surprise.
“I was a bit surprised,” Brown said. “I haven’t kept an eye on the points this year.”
He finished ahead of Inverell half-back Pulu Maea and Tamworth breakaway Ben McInnes.
The 26-year-old is the Rams’ linchpin and commands respect from team-mates and opposition alike.
They always know they’ve got to watch him.
He is one of the best ball-running forwards in the competition.
This season was his ninth with the Rams but, until Saturday, he hadn’t experienced playing in a grand final.
The closest he’d got was three years ago when the Rams made the preliminary final.
“It’s been nine years. All I’ve wanted to do is play in a grand final,” Brown said.
“I finally got to play in one and lost.”
The disappointment the Rams felt was obvious when the whistle blew and justified.
They gave it their all and Pirates their toughest grand final test.
Of their four premierships, this was the one they had to work hardest for.
The Rams led them until the 73rd minute and even in the closing stages had the chance to snatch it.
“We did all we could. It was just the roll of the dice,” Brown said.
“You couldn’t ask any more from the boys.”
It was a somewhat a game of two halves.
“We had it our way in the first half. They had it their way in the second half,” Brown said.
Particularly late in the second half.
“We didn’t have a lot of ball (in the second half),” he said.
Nor territory. They would have only had a couple of entries into their half in the last quarter of the game as Pirates came home.
“You’ve got to expect it from them,” Brown said.
They just unfortunately couldn’t stop them.
Still it was a great effort to make the grand final for the first time in 15 years.
“It was a bit disappointing, but very happy to get there,” Brown said.
“For a little town it’s a big achievement.”
He said they had probably been building towards it for a few years.
They just finally put it together this year.
In other awards, Pirates breakaway Josh Stewart was named the representative player of the year and was also presented with his Will Tanner award for the Country player of the year, while Tamworth coaches Joe Goldsworthy and Michael Bird were rewarded for their years of service with the Prime Television award for contribution to rugby in the zone, and Moree’s Paul Cooke won the president’s award.