Dann, Berrie on top as triple-premiership players honoured
THE Gayndah Gladiators have toasted a successful season where they defied the odds to take home a third consecutive premiership.
The six players who played in all three seasons were awarded special plaques: Matt Ulcoq, Shane Morgan, Mitch Ballin, Zac Dann, Trent Berrie and Ben Kenny.
"When you turn up to every game for years, success will follow," coach Dave Madden said.
"When you've got a core group, success follows that sort of dedication."
He also noted that former coach Rob Linskett, who became more involved as the season wore on, club president Gavin Berrie and sports trainer Luke 'Spook' Schmierer ensured continuity of back room staff throughout the dream run as well.
Trent Berrie was the Player of the Year while captain Zac Dann was the Player's Player.
These awards are decided by team vote in a 3-2-1 system.
"The team chose those two, that's what makes them prestigious (awards)," Madden said.
"We see the flashy stuff on the sideline but it's what the players see."
Dann also won the Best and Fairest and Ironman awards, while Berrie also claimed the Best Forward award.
Leroy Brown, the Central Burnett league's Rookie of the Year, won the same award for the Gladiators.
"He's only going to get better and better and better," Madden said.
"He'll be our lead front rower at one stage, our go-to man."
Man of the match in the 26-32 grand final victory over the Mundubbera Tigers, Tom Jameson, won the Utility award.
Mitch Ballin was Best Back, Matt Emmerton the Most Improved Forward, Luke Altham the Most Improved Back, Stuart Kirk the Most Improved Player and Tyler George Burns won the Coach's Encouragement award.
Madden said he chose Burns for this award on the basis of his drastic improvement in the four-minute runs which commenced each training.
"Tyler doubled what he could do at training," he said.
"It was phenomenal."
Madden identified the judiciary's rubbing out of Burns for the grand final as the "spark" which lifted the Gladiators.
"When it happened, we were gutted," he said.
"But it worked in our absolutely favour.
"It lifted the boys."
Madden said the most satisfying aspect of the season for him as coach was watching his players "grow as men".
He said he could see that in how they made sure the club shed was always tidy, cleaned up the dressing room after games and "looked after their mates".