Senior Players Shine At Senior Presentation Gala

The Class of 2019 celebrated a massive year recently at the Nerang Soccer Club Senior Presentation and Gala night, the night of nights held this year at the Nerang clubhouse.

Highlights of the night included the celebration of some massive club milestones and some incredible video highlights on the big screens through to the club’s Grand Final Winning Metro Women’s Blue team and the scooping of a bevy of awards for Men’s Premier League debutant Koji Kata.

As the platters went out and drinks began to flow, MC Paul Cockbain got into the business of dealing out the silverware and awards, starting with years service awards and the senior games milestones.

Notable achievements included the foursome game milestones awarded to Ashleigh Voller, Nicole Mathews, Melissa Bodley and Phillippa Mengel who collectively have amassed over 1,300 senior games for the Nerang Eagles, an enduring effort showing class and commitment.

2019 Milestones at Nerang — Phillippa Mengel (400 games), Nicole Matthews (300 games), Melissa Bodley (400 games and Ashleigh Voller (200 games)

A teary-eyed Gary Stone accepted a milestone award acknowledging his 45-years of service to the club, an incredible achievement as part of a family so steeped in accomplishment and lore at Nerang Soccer Club and in South East Queensland football history, with the Stone family still heavily engaged at Nerang as players, coaches, supporters and active members to this day. A proud moment no doubt for Gary’s mum Bev Stone, who was on hand to also see granddaughter Gemma receive her 10-years Service award on the night.

Eagles stalwart Gary Stone reflects on his 45 years at the club.

Perhaps one of the biggest milestones on the night was the acknowledgment of Paul Cockbain’s playing time at the club, amassing 550 games for Nerang over multiple decades. Cockbain — whose name also resonates proudly throughout the modern history of the game in South East Queensland — demonstrated a level of loyalty and character in a league of his own as he remained on at the club this year in multiple capacities including Vice President in 2019, groundsman, club mentor and senior player.

As the evening went on the attendees were treated to a series of fantastic clips and content up on the big screen, including a 45-minute welcome slide show featuring photos and images from the Premier League and Metro Women’s and Men’s Leagues, followed by thrilling edits from this year’s Premier League competition showcasing the best hits, highlights and goals from a memorable year.

A massive thanks went out to our many amazing sponsors and partners and it was great to see them acknowledged in front of such a receptive and thankful crowd of club patrons and players — the recent successes at the club from the top to bottom have only been possible through the generous support from the Eagles’ many sponsors … once again, thank you!!!

Heading into the 2019 season awards, the competition was fierce and tight given the extremely broad range of talented footballers who pulled on the red this year for Nerang. Players Player peer awards came down to the wire and the Golden Boot eventuated in a tie, with Premier League Japanese goal hunters Koki Miyasaki and Koji Kato sharing the prize.

Our only Grand Final winning team, the Women’s Metro Blue team again celebrated their incredible home run and their meteoric rise as a youth team, against all odds, climbing to topple some quality sides and win their grand final with class and style.

The two 2019 Nerang Women’s Metro teams before they faced off for a home game clash late in the season.

It was a tough and heartfelt speech from Premier League Coach Dave Benigno that signalled to the room just how unlucky and how close the club’s top flight team was to making finals and impacting the tournament this year, with Dave telling the people how emotionally impacting it has been for him since joining Nerang and investing his heart into a new series of pursuits at the club. A fantastic and committed effort from Dave this year and the club would like to again thank him for his diligent input and passion.

Plagued by injuries, fluctuating performances and a run of luck that just wasn’t in their favour, the Premier League squad — which often featured the youngest players in the league — missed their mark by a single point in 2019 despite rattling the top teams and shaking the cage on multiple occasions.

Highlights of their year including demolishing title contenders Broadbeach United 5-1 at home, putting Premiership winners Burleigh on the back foot multiple times and a dream pre-season run beating out several top shelf NPL and BPL teams, however in the end it was a frustrating few mistakes and goals not realised that pipped the Nerang boys at the post.

Ben Dixon, away in the UK on a football scholarship with The New Saints, secured the Best & Fairest award for the Reserve Grade team – an incredible achievement for such a young lad.

Premier League player and quiet assassin Koji Kato scooped the awards, taking the trophies for Best & Fairest, Golden Boot and Players’ Player for the 2019 Premier League season – a deserved result given the immense work rate and focus invested by the young forward.

Koji Kato accepts one of three huge awards on the night, arguably the top performing and impacting senior player at Nerang in 2019.

Skye Harris and Ned Ford collectively also won the awards for both Best & Fairest and Players Player in their respective Metro teams, showing again that the pundits, coaches and players all got it right.

Metro Women’s Blue team’s Annika Schache receiving the Players Player award, icing on the cake after her team’s stellar grand final victory

Ned Ford was lucky to not be present on the night though, as he missed the special presentation of his other award … not the Golden Boot, but rather the Broken Thong Award – awarded for most own-goals in 2019, clocking up an impressive count of 5 own goals in the season.

Included in the mix was a video presentation showcasing the top 6 finalist goals of the year, featuring cracking goals from finalists Acim Tomic, Koji Kato, Joel Bruggy and three incredible goals from Koki Miyasaka, however it was Joel Bruggy’s long range bomb against Palm Beach that won the judge’s vote and the inaugural prize – the competition should be tight in 2020 as we expand the award to include a junior and senior prize.

Rounding out the night, the evening closed by acknowledging all of the hard work from all of the club’s many coaches, volunteers, staff and committee members for another massively successful year at Nerang.

The last video for the night was a classic and perfectly executed edit of the many funny moments, fouls, hit ups and wayward tackled fromt he 2019 Premier League and Reserves campaigns – what a night and what a great way to end it.

2020 no doubt will see some evolutionary changes at the club in the senior ranks with several key players and coaches stepping aside for the new blood to take the reigns — an exciting time ahead and we are certainly looking forward to it!

2019 Senior Gala & Presentation Awards

Golden Boot
Koji Kato and Koki Miyasaka

Players’ Player
Premier League Firsts – Koji Kato
Premier Reserves – Ben Dixon
Metro Women’s Blue – Annika Schache
Metro Women’s Red – Skye Harris
Metro Men’s – Ned Ford

Best & Fairest
Premier League Firsts – Koji Kato
Premier Reserves – Josh Grant
Metro Women’s Blue – Jemma Turpin
Metro Women’s Red – Skye Harris
Metro Men’s – Ned Ford

Coach’s Award
Premier League Firsts – Koki Miyasaka
Premier Reserves – Ben Dixon
Metro Women’s Blue – Gemma Stone
Metro Women’s Red – Karine Campbell
Metro Men’s – Matthew Bowen

Senior Goal Of The Year
Joel Bruggy

Grand Final Winners
Metro Women’s Blue

Senior Games Played
100 Games – Kylie Bennett
200 Games – Ashleigh Voller, Steven Green
300 Games – Nicole Matthews, Nicholas Jeffrey
400 Games – Melissa Bodley, Phillippa Mengel
550 Games – Paul Cockbain

Years Service
10 Years – Gemma Stone, Jemma Collet, Kumbelin Fox, Monique Bitzios
20 Years – Penny Evans
25 Years – Phillippa Mengel, Damien Bitzios
45 Years – Gary Stone