The humble Bomber
AARON Adcock arrived at North Ipswich Reserve fashionably late for the Rugby League Ipswich Awards evening, previously unaware he was up for the competition's top honour.
With entrees already on tables, the Fassifern halfback and 2017 competition leading point-scorer "had to chuck the gear on and get straight down” having discovered he was a likely winner of the A-Grade Player of the Year.
Thankfully he made it with time to spare, accepting the Ray Hine Memorial Trophy from RLI chairman David Nugent.
In 18 games this season, Adcock's two tries and 77 goals helped propel the Bombers to top of the A-Grade table.
After three losses to open the season, Adcock's boot is a large reason Fassifern now enter the finals as premiership favourites on the back of a 15-game unbeaten run.
Rugby league halfbacks can often be pigeon-holed as the selfish players in a side - the ones often offered praise, and usually all-too happy to accept it.
But Adcock was quick to misdirect to his teammates, who he said are the real reason the Bombers have enjoyed another fine season.
"It's probably a testament to the depth at Fassifern,” Adcock said.
"Having an opportunity to play with such a good forward pack, and having such good backs outside me makes my job easy.
"Leveni in the centres, Eli who has come over this year, they've been enormous. Kali doesn't get enough credit for what he does at hooker and playing in the halves, he's awesome to play with.
"Boys like Matty Sledge that have come to the club and found their spot in A-Grade this season, he's been awesome.
"From 1-17, everyone rolls up their sleeves and does their job every weekend.
"It makes playing football a lot more enjoyable too.”
Recalling a key match at Swifts in the middle of the season which signalled the Bombers as likely premiership fancies, Adcock was near-perfect from the tee no matter the distance or angle.
With six of the Bombers' wins this season by four points or less, Adcock's accuracy has played a major factor in deciding contests.
"There was one week there where I couldn't kick (straight), but beside that it hasn't been too bad,” he said, offering a more colourful descriptor than "straight”.
"I've found some form at the back end of the year which as been good. Hopefully when it comes down to it (during the finals) we're not reliant on that too much.”
In his second season returned from a playing hiatus, Adcock said he was happy to have built on last year's efforts having rediscovered "the confidence to play in the A-Grade comp”.
The halfback was instrumental in Fassifern's run to the 2017 grand final, however played no part after injuring his knee in the qualifying final.
"I played every game last year and blew my knee out the game before the grand final,” he said.
"It would be good to play in one, let alone win one. It would be icing on the cake.”
Standing in the Bombers' path to the grand final is Swifts, with Player of the Year runner-up Ratunaisa Vauinaruku a key man Adcock's side must shut down.
"You want to play against and beat the best players. He's a bit of a headache (but) we're looking forward to it,” he said.
Keep an eye out this week for other stories from Friday night's RLI Awards evening.