McLennan a double winner
ON the footy field Ben McLennan hits hard and often.
And he's not too dusty when it comes to carting the ball up or off-loading it in traffic.
On Saturday at the Grafton Ghosts' presentation night the likable back-rower picked up the club's first grade Best and Fairest award and the John Whitton Memorial Blood and Guts award.
The guy they call Bluey, played a huge role in the Ghosts winning back-to-back premierships with his whole-hearted performances.
McLennan's no-nonsense style and high work-rate proved a winner this year with most pundits questioning why he missed selection in the NRRRL 2011 Team of the Year.
But according to the 22-year-old roofer winning the Ghosts' main award came as somewhat as a surprise.
"It's an honour to win such an award when you've got so many good players at the Ghosts," McLennan said.
"Especially with guys like Aaron Hartmann and Ryan Farrell in the side.
"When you've got so many quality players in the team right across the park, to receive the award is very special."
McLennan, who is down to earth as they come, admitted he came close to pulling the pin with the Ghosts this year but heeded the advice of a close mate and former Ghosts' first grade manager the late Mark Hall.
Hall and McLennan developed a close bond over the years which is something the star back-rower holds close to his heart
"I said during my speech at the presentation night if it wasn't for Hally I wouldn't have been playing," McLennan said.
"When I was unhappy with things he always settled me down and supported me.
"He has probably been one of the biggest influences on my life so far and I'm sure he would have been proud of me."
The Ghosts' hardman revealed he enjoyed himself on the field this season and added playing closer to the action suited his game.
"With Aaron Hartmann and Ryan Danvers in the side I ended up playing a tighter game and loved being close to the action," he said.
"Aaron and Ryan do a lot of work on the edges which allowed me to play more up the middle.
"I enjoyed playing alongside Aaron. He proved this year he's a back-rower and that's where he belongs.
So what does a tough uncompromising footballer do in the off season?
Throw on the whites for a game of cricket or hit the beach?
"I'll be loading up the truck with my dog Buster and heading west for some pig chasing," McLennan said.
No surprises there.
Grafton Ghosts Awards
Best and Fairest: Ben McLennan
Player's Player: Aaron Hartmann
Coaches Award: Tom Freebody
Rookie of the Year: Mitch Lollback
Best Back: Ryan Farrell
Best Forward: Rhys Walters
Best and Fairest: Troy Munro
Player's Player: Troy Munro
Coaches Award: Nick Bell
Best Back: Jason Cheney
Best Forward: Scott Kilduff
Best and Fairest: Sam Lennon
Player's Player: Matt Muller
Coaches Award: Christain Bowden-Betts
Best Back: Carlton Elliott
Best Forward: Jared Stephenson
Blood and Guts: Ben McLennan
Greg Vidler Memorial Award: Ryan Farrell
Most Points any Grade: Aaron Taylor
Most tries any Grade: Aaron Taylor