Swans want to end it for player of the year
IT IS a testament to Paul Cohen's legacy in the Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League that even the bloke plotting to shut him down in tonight's grand final qualifier can do nothing but praise him.
Maroochydore coach Mark Brandon took a break this week from planning to destroy the Kawana Dolphins to pay tribute to the retiring captain, who was last night named player of the year.
"He's an icon of the game on the Coast," Brandon said ahead of last night's awards presentation at Caloundra RSL.
"He's been at the helm of two consecutive premierships for them and he's a wonderful player for the game.
"He's a real good clubman and he's got a lot of respect from his teammates and opposition players.
"He's huge for the game on the Coast and I admire the young bloke."
Last night's award is the latest achievement in Cohen's stellar Sunshine Coast career, which he hopes to cap off with a third consecutive grand final next week.
Maroochydore hopes to finish Cohen's fairytale tonight when the teams meet at Golden Beach and Brandon says shutting down the veteran playmaker is a key part of the game plan.
"He is a player that we have to keep an eye on, but we can't afford to focus too much of our attention just on him because it's what he does with the ball off the edges," Brandon said.
"You have to be aware which runner he's going to hit and it's more focusing on what's five metres either side of him."
In the line-up for Maroochydore tonight will be newly named rookie of the year, Nat McGavin, who has been honoured for his breakout season.
The 18-year-old has become a key figure in the Swans' backline.
Coach of the year unsurprisingly went to Caloundra mentor Danny Gray, who turned last year's wooden spooners into the first team to qualify for next week's grand final at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Caloundra, the host of today's finals, also took home the club championship, and halfback Justin Otto was top point scorer and fullback Lance Ainsworth the top try scorer.
And the winners are...
- Player of the year: Paul Cohen, Kawana Dolphins
- Rookie of the year: Nat McGaven, Maroochydore Swans
- Coach of the year: Danny Gray, Caloundra Sharks
- Top point scorer: Justin Otto, Caloundra Sharks
- Top try scorer: Lance Ainsworth, Caloundra Sharks
- Club championship: Caloundra Sharks
MAROOCHYDORE v KAWANA
Today, Golden Beach, 5.30pm