Lithgow Bears celebrate the end of season 2018 | Photos

The Lithgow Bears rugby league football club held its 36th year presentation night at the Lithgow Workies Club on September 1.

The Ian Ryan Memorial Club person of the year was presented to Ritchie Bilby. Ian Ryan was a former Bears player whose life was tragically taken in 1988. 

This award in his memory is in recognition of someone, doing something extra that benefits the sport, and on this occasion, that came in the form of exceptional commitment and dedication within a volunteer role. 

Ritchie’s tremendous commitment has not gone unnoticed and it’s these little things that help a club function. Activities and jobs were done without question and many times without being asked. This makes Ritchie very valuable participant in the Bears club. 

The Lithgow community is very fortunate to have Ritchie Bilby as a member and supporter of the Lithgow Bears rugby league club and this award recognised his outstanding contribution to the club and the sport.

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The Jeremy ‘Jezz’” Fittler Memorial Award for most consistent player was awarded to Timmy Hughes. Jeremy was a former Bears player who died in early 2017. 

This is the second time this award has been given out and was given to Timmy for his outstanding consistency and effort made in every game. 

He never gave up and encouraged all players around him.

This year the Bears had one person receiving Life Membership for 10 years of service to the club. Brendan Machin was awarded with life membership. Brendan’s family has always been involved with the Bears with both his parents already Life Members. 

Brendan started out with the club being ball boy and running the water. Now you will see him at home games running the Bears bar. Brendan has been a valuable participant with the club. He turns up week in and week out to help the Bears Club. Brendan was awarded the Life Membership pin by long time Life Member Greg ‘Whale’ Smith. 

There are now three families whose parents and kids have been awarded with Bears Life Membership. Many families are involved with the Bears Club and we hope that this continues with many more generations in the future.

The Players’ Players awards are voted on by all players each week, recognising who they thought was outstanding that week. At the end of the season all of the votes were calculated. This year the 2018 players player went to Kaleb Ritchey in rugby league and Latia Hardie in league tag.

The Best and Fairest Award is picked by the crowd at each game. They give 3, 2, and 1 points and this year the Best and Fairest went to Blake Collins in rugby league and Monique Millmore for league tag.

The coach’s awards are picked by the coaches. This year the rugby league coach’s award was awarded to Ryan Bilby from Timmy Hughes. The league tag coach’s award was presented to Shanaya Callaghan from Jasmine Spittles.

The most improved award went to two players who put in effort week in and week out, turned up to training and were willing to learn. They played any position they were asked to and, although not confident at the beginning of the season by the end you could not stop them. Congratulations to Joe Ward (Rugby League) and Deanna Collins (League Tag). 

Rookies of the Year are awarded to players who have never played senior football before.

This year the rookies went to Kobe Hunter for rugby league and Jessie-Rose Lutcshini for league tag. Kobe plays a lot of other sports and managed to play football and state league basketball with the Lithgow Lazers in the one day or golf in the mornings before games.

Jessie was the Bears’ youngest player. She stepped up playing with older women, showed enthusiasm and even scored a try in the last game.

The highest try-scorers for the year were so close throughout the whole season. Before the last game against Kandos the boys rugby league team had three players in line for this award. In the last game one player managed to get over the line to be awarded the top try-scorer and that went to Jacob Monaghan. For the girls league tag there was no breaking it up and it ended to be a three-way tie with Monique Millmore, Latia Hardie and Shanaya Callaghan.

Highest point-scorer includes the tries scored (four points) and penalty kicks (two points). This year the award for highest points scored went to Blake Collins for rugby league and Shanaya Callaghan for league tag.

The President’s Awards were presented by the Bears 2018 President Ben Spittles. The awards went to the Bears 2018 executive committee consisting of Scott Doonan (vice president, Zoe Northey (Bears treasurer) and Lauren Stevens (Bears secretary). The committee was small with the four officials ensuring that the football season ran smoothly and that all players enjoyed playing the game of rugby league. 

The committee undertakes activities behind the scenes and sometimes these things are unnoticed to the public.

The majority of the committee members are also players. These committee members are volunteers and do not get paid but receive the privilege of helping other people happy and play the sport they love. Without committee members the club would not function.

The Bears monster raffle: First prize (a barbecue donated by Bunnings Lithgow) was won by Ellie Macdonald (your dad will love it in summer); Second prize (pedal kart and pressure washer donated by Repco Lithgow) was won by Timmy Hughes whose young girls will love the pedal kart; Third prize (signed Newcastle Knights jersey) was won by Josh Lutcshini, who gave it to his dad; the signed Penrith Panthers jersey was won by Corey Kable.

There were many volunteers who helped throughout the 2018 season and the club cannot thank you enough.

The whole of the Lithgow Bears rugby league club would like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors and supporters for coming on board this season. Without your help the Bears would not be able to function and provide a friendly fun club for the Lithgow community to participate and be a part of.

Lastly a major thank you to all players, your commitment and enjoyment kept the club running. The orientation from the players within the club was amazing with support and friendships towards one another. 

The club looks forward to a bigger and better season in 2019!