Seagulls coach says Waters should reign
LEAGUE: The man who steered Wallaroos to the Bundaberg Rugby League minor premiership should be named the competition's Player of the Year at tonight's awards function according to a rival coach.
The BRL will crown its Players of the Year, club champions, and formally recognise the competition's top try and point scorers at Brothers Sports Club in Bundaberg.
Before finalists were released on Thursday, Hervey Bay coach Alan Ezzy said he believed Wallaroos halfback Luke Waters had earned the BRL's top prize.
Waters steered the side to last year's grand final on the back of ad-lib footy, but Ezzy said it is his decision-making that made him stand out.
"In any team there is one player you rely on to read the game and make smart choices, and I think Luke Waters has nailed it this year," he said.
"Last season he was a little bit off, but he's not kicking as much any more and he's become a lot more unpredictable.
"They don't have the biggest forward pack but it's his vision. He's playing what's in front of him and to that defence."
Waters will not win the award, with former halves partner Luke Beatty listed as the nominee from Wallaroos.
Beatty, who scored two tries and kicked 21 goals, left the club before the end of the regular season due to work.
Hervey Bay nominated Steve Dwyer, Maryborough Brothers' put forth Ryan Gauld, while Aaron Hall (Past Brothers), Easts' Leigh Eade, Matthew Craven (Isis Devils), Reece Maughan (Waves) and James Prichard (Wests) are the other A-grade finalists.
Two former Seagulls will receive silverware as Waves Tigers duo Billy Stefaniuk and Clinton Horne ended the season as the top try- and point-scorer respectively.
Stefaniuk scored two tries in last week's 27-24 win against Wallaroos last week to bring his season haul to 22, three more than Wallaroos centre and 2017 joint Player of the Year Shaun Collins.
Horne scored five tries and kicked 60 goals to end the season with 140 points, just six clear of Wests' James Prichard.