BATHURST Panthers maestro Jeremy Gordon has taken out the Group 10 player of the year award, holding off a stellar crop that includes two past winners.
Leading Panthers to the preliminary final against Mudgee at Carrington Park on Sunday, Gordon polled 21 votes at the Group 10 awards night at Bathurst Panthers on Friday night.
He edged both Jack Afamasaga and Ben McAlpine – the 2014 and 2013 winners respectively – by just one vote, the pair equal second on 20.
Early season leader Jake Betts rounded out the regular season in fourth spot, with 16 points, while Cowra’s Ron Lawrence, CYMS’ Simon Osborne and St Pat’s Ant Ale were all locked on 11 votes.
Osborne is a former winner of the Group 10 player of the year count for Panthers, taking home the top prize back in 2003.
Gordon, though, is the first Panthers to win the award since Dan Stuart in 2006, both mercurial fullbacks with the potential to win their sides grand finals.
In 2006, Stuart did just that, helping the men in black win the grand final in extra-time against Lithgow at Tony Luchetti Sportsground.
Gordon will potentially get the chance to emulate Stuart a decade on, if Panthers can get over the top of Mudgee on Sunday.
Orange CYMS warhorse Des Knight took out the first division top gong, while Oberon’s young fullback Josh Rivett took out the Group 10 under-18s player of the year top prize.
While Blayney haflback Olivia Bird capped a stellar season with the league tag top prize.
Bird polled 23 votes, edging Panthers gun Amy Hewitt and fellow Blayney and Western Rams gun Sophie Stammers by two votes.