"HE'S the sort of kid that you can build a club around."
That's the high praise that Bathurst Panthers captain-coach Jake Betts has heaped on Tom Lemmich after his breakout season.
Given that Betts plays at lock like Lemmich and has done it not only for Bathurst Panthers but Group 10 and the Western Rams as well, as it's an opinion that carries plenty of weight too.
"He's incredible that young fella, we have been missing a Mr Fix It and he was that for us this season," Betts said.
"He's played a lot of positions he's never played before and he never whinged once or complained.
"He's got a heart of gold the big fella and he puts in 100 percent every time he plays. He's a very talented kid and a good person too."
A member of Bathurst Panthers' under 18s squad, Lemmich also backed up and helped up the club's Peter McDonald Premiership side this season.
He was given a spot in the run-on side for the first time in round two against Cowra after Blake Lawson suffered a season-ending injury. That was at lock.
He started in the 13 jumper for three games, was used in the second row and off the bench as well. Lemmich also scored tries against Orange Hawks and Cowra.
It was Lemmich who Betts decided to give his first grade coach's award at Bathurst Panthers' presentation evening last Friday.
The Panthers leader hopes he will be able to call Lemmich a team-mate next season as well.
"If he's still around Bathurst next year, I don't know whether he will be or not, but he's the sort of kid that you can build a club around," Betts said.
"He's going to play a lot of first grade and if he doesn't go down to Sydney he'll be the centre of our team.
"I've got a lot of time for him, he's a really good kid."
The coach's award added to the Group 10 rookie of the year honour Lemmich picked up in late August.
Lemmich was also named to captain the Group 10 under 18s this Saturday against Group 11, but has been forced to withdraw due to other commitments.
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