Stothard caps dream year as a Maryborough Bear
A HISTORY-making season has ended with the perfect Father's Day present for young gun Jarrod Stothard.
The 18-year-old centre was one of Maryborough Bears' best performing players throughout the QFA Wide Bay Reserves competition.
It was proved to be more than just the opinion of spectators, coaches and fellow players when AFL Queensland revealed the leaderboard at the 10-round mark late last month.
Stoddard, who was on nine votes, just one ahead of Brothers Bulldogs' Robert McKeown, was shocked to see he led the rankings.
"It was (a surprise) actually," Stothard said on Thursday. "I knew I might've had a couple of votes but I didn't realise I'd lead it after 10 rounds. Hopefully I can keep the lead."
That hope became reality at an awards dinner in Brisbane last night where he was announced the league's best and fairest winner.
It capped a dream weekend as Maryborough won its first premiership since 2000. The Bears won the minor premiership with 13 wins from its 16 games.
Adam Sheehan was the leading goalkicker with 30 majors during the season.
Maryborough travelled to Bundaberg's Frank Coulthard Oval on Saturday to face Across The Waves, who finished four points behind Bears on the ladder.
While it was tight, the Bears prevailed 17.16-118 - 14.6-90. Stothard, who returned to Maryborough last year after a short stint with Bay Power, said he expected the Bears would reach the grand final.
"I expected it to happen from the start, the training, the team we had and that first game, I thought we'd get there," Stothard said.