THE Fraser Coast is now home to Australia's best sports journalist working for rural, regional or suburban media.
The Fraser Coast Chronicle's own sports editor Matthew McInerney beat stiff competition for the coveted award at the Australian Sports Commission Awards in Melbourne on Thursday night.
Hearing his name called out resulted in a mixture of shock and jubilation for the humble sports-mad journalist, who attended the ceremony expecting it to be a night of networking.
"God no, definitely not," was the reply Matthew gave when asked if he expected to win.
"You're in a room packed with some of the best sports journalists in the country, it definitely was not expected."
"It's hard to find words for the feeling, even 24 hours later it's hard to digest."
It was Matthew's coverage of local sports stories like the Bundaberg Rugby League's controversial on-field fights and a profile on a hockey-loving family that landed him the award.
It was the highlight of the 25-year-old's journalism career so far, but Matthew said his proudest moments were on the back pages of each Fraser Coast Chronicle.
"It's about giving our local sporting heroes the opportunity to shine and give them recognition for their work," he said.
"Sport has always been a big part of my life, in terms of playing and following it.
"It's a bit clichéd, but making your obsession your profession means you never have to work a day in your life. I am living the dream in a way."
Matthew will continue living the dream on Monday when he's back in the Chronicle office. But he will attend another awards ceremony on Wednesday night for the APN Awards.
Last year he walked away with the Sports Writer of The Year award - hopes are high he will remain reigning champion.
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