ED ABOVE THE REST: McGrath named FNCRU best and fairest
RUGBY UNION: For Grafton Redmen forward Ed McGrath losses cut deep. And missing out on the Far North Coast finals series this season has been gut wrenching for the 26-year-old number-eight.
But to ease the pain just a little bit, McGrath has been named the Coopers Far North Coast Zone Best and Fairest.
It is an amazing achievement from one of the Redmen's favourite sons who has been a clear model of consistency all season.
The rampaging performances this year have been nothing short of exceptional. His robust energetic style of play has been immeasurable. It's a sentiment former Redmen and 1986 Far North Coast Player of the Year Peter Tonkin agrees with.
"Ed's a special player and thoroughly deserves the award,” Tonkin said during the week.
"He's a player you identify as playing at a much higher level if he was to pursue his career further afield.
"I'll never forget the game against Southern Cross Uni when he ran the length of the field and out-paced the opposition...not bad for a back-rower.”
For McGrath the news came as a shock. In fact he thought the phone call he received to pass on the message was some type of prank.
"I got the phone call and thought someone was having a lend of me,” McGrath said.
"I was actually opening the farm gate to check on the cattle when I got the call, it was a massive shock.
"It was disappointing to miss out on the semi-finals. We had a year full of injuries that didn't help our cause. It wasn't a great season but receiving this award is satisfying and something I'm very proud of.”
McGrath received 16-points narrowly defeating Casuarina player Mitch Planten who finished on 15-points.