Owens receives highest honour
RUGBY LEAGUE: Despite being blind in one eye, Jared Owens claimed the Jim Gallagher Medallion as the Central Highlands player of the year.
The Springsure Mountain Men's captain and five-eighth dominated the polls with 37 votes of a possible 42.
Springsure narrowly missed out on a finals spot but Owens' contribution was telling.
He said he hoped to take it into the 2017 season.
"It is an honour to win this year's medal but I wouldn't have been able to do it without the boys and the whole club,” he said.
"The club means a lot to me after moving from Sarina two years ago. We have a great competition in the Central Highlands with plenty of good players. I am really looking forward to next year's season with the Mountain Men.”
Owens, who lost the vision in his left eye in a fishing accident as a youngster, also took out the referees best and fairest award with 27 votes. Middlemount's Mitch Wyatte and Bluff's Chris Conway finished second and third.
In the Women's competition, Emerald Tigers premiership-winning fullback Kelsie Parter won the Pat Booker medallion with 18 votes, edging out Blackwater's Mariah Storch by two votes.
Central Highlands Rugby League president Frank Lambley said it was important to recognise the people who make rugby league in the region successful.
"Presentation day is all about celebrating the 2016 season and thanking the players and most importantly the club and league officials,” Lambley said.
"I would particularly like to thank fellow League executives Paul Bell and Tracy McIndoe for their assistance this season as we took some big steps forward.
"I congratulate all of the award recipients, particularly Jared and Kelsie who have had outstanding seasons and I would also like to congratulate and thank the Central Highlands community for coming out and supporting our players and clubs.
"I hope you have enjoyed the greatest game of all this season.” Emerald Cowboys star Lawson Storey was named rookie of the year.