SUMMING up an eventful season for the North Ballarat Rebels, full of highs and heartbreaks, the young team counted their votes for their Best and Fairest yesterday.
Nick Rippon was awarded the prestigious Adam Goodes Trophy for his hard work on and off the field. Rippon spoke to The Courier after his presentation was made.
“I’ve had a really enjoyable season - this is a great way to sum it all up,” he said.
Rippon was awarded 277 votes, a clear 22 ahead of runner-up Jake Lloyd and 55 votes ahead of Tony Lockyer in third place.
Although he was humbled and honoured by his win, Rippon reflects more on his time playing than on his award.
“I’m really happy to have won it - but the whole year is more important that one night,” he said.
“The best part of the season was our first final. To come back from when we were down to have a great win was definitely the highlight for me.”
The winner of the Rebels’ Best and Fairest is awarded with the Adam Goodes Trophy, a football signed by Adam Goodes and hand painted with aboriginal art by Goodes’ mother.
“Goodesy is a great player, and to receive an award that’s after him - I’m honoured,” Rippon said.
North Ballarat Rebels regional manager Phil Partington said the trophy was absolutely unique, a trophy that is different than any other and something that the recipient of the award will always cherish.
“Adam Goodes is probably the most highly decorated Rebels player, as he has won Brownlows and premierships and is looked up to by the boys,” he said.
Now, Rippon is working towards his Year 12 exams at St Patrick’s College and the AFL draft. He was one of the six Rebels players to participate in the state AFL Draft combine on Saturday, where he was assessed in front of AFL recruiters, hoping to be drafted by clubs for the 2013 season.
“It was a really good experience, but it really tested everyone both physically and mentally,” he said.
“I broke a few personal bests, including reaching 14.2 in the beep test which was what I was aiming for.”
Partington said the awards were a great success, with 180 in attendance.
“It’s a great way to celebrate the boys’ year, and also we’re able to thank the parents, some of which drive two or three hours a couple of times a week for training,” he said.
This was Nick Rippon’s second year in the program, and he has performed consistently well. All year he worked hard on his football, and in school, and his results have shown that.”
“The boys that received the awards today were all very humble, thankful for their opportunity to play with the Rebels and appreciative of their time.”
Rippon said he was a bit sad about the season coming to an end, after his two years with the club, but looks forward to what is to come.