In front of more than 200 people in Darwin tonight, retiring NT Thunder great, Darren ‘Boof’ Ewing and Central Australia’s leading female prospect, Jordann Hickey have each picked up two club awards at the NT Thunder Club Champion presentation.
With the top five in the NEAFL and VFL W Club Champion counts still to be revealed, Ewing received the Leading Goalkicker award thanks to McDonald’s, after finishing the 2018 season on 51 goals and taking home the goal kicking honours for the tenth consecutive year.
Earlier in the evening, AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) CEO Stuart Totham was met with great applause when he announced that the NT Thunder men’s leading goalkicker award for 2019 and beyond would be renamed the Darren Ewing Leading Goalkicker Award.
Totham also acknowledged the great contribution long-time supporter and foundation member Karen Schneider, owner of Territory Sportsmedicine has shown to Thunder, by announcing the most courageous female player will receive the NT ThunderW Karen Schneider Most Courageous Award.
Ewing also collected the KIK Digital Community and Media Award, which is in recognition of his great work in promoting the Club and giving generously of himself to Thunder’s community projects and involvement.
Off the back of her increased media involvement, Hickey was awarded the same honours for the VFL W squad.
She was also voted in by the coaches as the inaugural NT ThunderW INPEX Rookie of the Year, an award reserved exclusively for up and coming players who are 23 years or younger. So far in her 13 games, she has kicked 14 goals and set up plenty of others which has assured her position as one of the first selected every week.
On the men’s side and in a season that saw Thunder expose plenty of exciting young talent, it was imposing ruckman Jack Monigatti who picked up the same award. Monigatti often battled against bigger, more experienced opponents and was one of only three players (along with Abraham Ankers and Chris Williams) to play all 18 games.
When it came down to the players recognising their peers, ThunderW captain Angela Foley came up trumps, sealing the coveted Players’ Player Award thanks to Mercure Airport Resort. The men bestowed their faith in Ankers, who had a brilliant year in the Territory jumper and was also bequeathed with a spot in the NEAFL Team of the Year last Sunday.
A full list of awards and recipients is at the bottom of this article.
Other highlights from the first half of the night included a presentation to retiring NEAFL players Ewing and Ryan Smith, as well as retiring assistant coach and Thunder premiership runner, Peter ‘Scruba’ Leonard.
Totham also used his speech to announce that Thunder Head Coach Andrew Hodges had signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in his role until the end of the 2020 season.
He said Thunder underwent a mid-season review which highlighted some areas for improvement but also clearly indicated that Hodges is the best person to lead the club forward.
“Andrew has built brilliant relationships with the players, administration and support crew; he also has excellent technical skills. With some improved support around him and a playing list with more depth we believe he is the best person to deliver success for Thunder’s men,” Totham said.
To read the full details see ‘Hodges to head Thunder for two more years’ here.
On the NT Thunder Academy side, Alice Springs youngster Deacon Braun cleaned up in the Under 16s division. Currently attending boarding school in Adelaide, Braun was recognised by both the coaches and his fellow players by being awarded the Under 16 McCasker Award and McAdam Medal.
During the national academy series, Braun became known for a great show of aggression and his ability to fight in a contested ball situation.
Going up one age-group, Under 18 NT Thunder Men’s Academy captain Rodney Baird was voted in by his teammates for the McCasker Award, while Stephen Cumming picked up the McLean Medal for his consistent showing while representing the NT.
On the women’s academy side, promising talent and ThunderW rookie Tabitha May was recognised by the coaches as the Under 18 NT Thunder Women’s Most Valuable Player, while Tayla Hart-Aluni received the players’ votes and was the McCasker Award recipient.
J’Noemi Anderson earned herself All Australian selection at the Under 15 School Sports Carnival back in July, and this evening she was awarded the School Sport NT Under 15 Girls Medal.
Participating in the same carnival and showing great promise on the boys’ side, Riley Stone was the winner of the School Sport NT Under 15 Long Medal.
In only the second year of the AFLNT inclusion program, Byron Mayo was justly recognised for the contribution he made to the success of the NT team when they travelled to Tasmania in June and knocked over more experienced and imposing state teams.
The 2018 St John Ambulance Tony West Club Person of the Year Award went to two volunteers, Jamie Barry and Mitchell Stennett. Familiar faces at every training and on game day, Barry and Stennett are hardworking volunteers behind the scenes who look after the players’ needs. Earlier this week Barry was also awarded the AFLNT Volunteer of the Year.
Full list of club awards at the 2018 NT Thunder Club Champion presentation
Senior team awards
NT Thunder INPEX Rookie of the Year
KIK Digital Community and Media Award
NT Thunder Clubman/Clubwoman of the Year Award presented by Mix 104.9
NT Thunder Leading Goalkicker presented by McDonald’s
Darren Ewing (51 goals)
Jessica Sedunary (15 goals)
NT Thunder Players’ Player presented by Mercure Airport Resort
NT Thunder Most Courageous Player presented by Hutchinson
NT ThunderW Karen Schneider Most Courageous Award presented by Hutchinson
Academy and other club awards
St John Ambulance Tony West Clubperson of the Year Award
Jamie Barry and Mitchell Stennett
Under 18 McLean Medal
Under 18 Women’s Most Valuable Player
Under 18 McCasker Awards
Under 16 McAdam Medal
Under 16 McCasker Award
School Sport NT Under 15 Long Medal
School Sport NT Under 15 Girls Medal