Raiders cap another big season
RUGBY UNION: The 2016 Whitsunday Raiders wrapped their season on the weekend with their presentation night an opportunity to reflect on how far the club has come.
The night, hosted by the Down Under Bar on Saturday night, was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the success the club has achieved, including the seniors making the semi-finals this year.
Whitsunday Raiders president Madison French said the club had taken huge leaps forward in 2016.
"We have had a lot of changes this year. This is the first time we have had a women's rugby team involved with the Raiders,” he said.
"We have also had the highest number of junior people in our ranks this year.
"A couple of the things we implemented a few years ago are now coming to progression.”
The presentation night recognised the outstanding achievements of members, who have made 2016 a year of great progress for the Raiders.
One club stalwart was awarded life membership as Bruce Spanner joined the exclusive group.
Mr French said the prestigious title was one of the greatest achievements that could be obtained.
"The biggest honour for any club is life membership,” he said.
"Every year a life member gets inducted at the Whitsunday Raiders Club - this year it is Bruce and I congratulate him.”
However, the club accolades did not stop there.
Raider of the Year was awarded to Matthew Sammut, Best Forward was taken out by Sam Hodgetts, Best Back was given to Scott Gerrand and the Most Improved award was won by Trent Cadwallader.
Petelo Kelemete won the highest points award and the top try scorers were Dean King and Bill Crossley.
High praise was given to the contribution of the women's team, which made an impressive mark on the Raiders club this year and is expected to continue into 2017.
Lea Piccinelli won the Best and Fairest award, Jo Goodall claimed Most Improved and Pia Poid took out the women's Coach's Award.
Coach's awards were also presented to Wesley Dunn and Simon Haire.
Other quirky awards included the Nutter Award, given to Blake Perkins, Hammer Award won by Shayne Marriner and the Figjam award taken out by Iosefo "Kimmy” Vulu.