Sports Awards reignited in the Clarence Valley
AT 51 years of age, Michael Russ reckoned he had enough experience to work out his chances of winning the Clarence Valley Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Even as he stood on stage with the other nominees at Friday's presentation, waiting for the winner to be named, the veteran hockey player was sure of the likely recipients ... and he wasn't one of them.
So there was no more surprised person in the South Grafton Ex-Services Club auditorium when he was called out to receive the night's top prize.
"I was stunned," Russ said after a few minutes to reflect on receiving the award.
He thought the award would go to one of two Grafton Ghosts nominated for the award, Mitch Lollback and Ryan Farrell.
But the judges gave the nod to Russ, who won a bronze medal representing Australia over-50s at the Masters Hockey World Cup in The Netherlands.
The Female Junior Sportsperson of the Year award went to rising cricket star Carly Leeson, while the judges couldn't separate close mates Hayden Ensbey and Elliott Speed for the male junior prize.
Jim Baird and Andrew Landenberger joined the Clarence Valley Sports Wall of Fame while the Ernie Muller Award was presented to Mick Corbett and the Max Godbee Award went to Roma Brotherson.
- Senior Sportsperson: Michael Russ
- Female Junior: Carly Leeson
- Male Junior: Hayden Ensbey/Elliott Speed
- Masters: Ray Hunt
- DEX Club of the Year: Grafton Hockey Association
- Team of the Year: Grafton Ghosts first grade
- Coach of the Year: Ryan Farrell
- People's Choice Award: Tahlia Marsh (BMX)
- Wall of Fame: Jim Baird, Andrew Landenberger
- Ernie Muller Award: Mick Corbett
- Max Godbee Award: Roma Brotherson
- DEX Contributor of the Year: Gary Nichols (South Grafton Team of the Century)
- DEX Contributor Photographer of the Year: Shane Sedger (Grafton Hockey)