AT THE END OF THE DAY | Bush medals a tribute to game’s upper echelon

HONOUR: Bob Weir presents Chad Parkes with the 2013 Group 11 man of the match medal, the Bob Weir medal. Inserts, from top, 2018 winner Ben Maguire, 2018 Group 10 Dave Scott medal winner Brent Seager and Dave Scott.
HONOUR: Bob Weir presents Chad Parkes with the 2013 Group 11 man of the match medal, the Bob Weir medal. Inserts, from top, 2018 winner Ben Maguire, 2018 Group 10 Dave Scott medal winner Brent Seager and Dave Scott.

Ask Ben Maguire who Bob Weir is and the Forbes Magpies prop, who’s just come off arguably his greatest game in black and white, can only shrug his shoulders.

To be fair, it was a loaded question. Ask me a day ago and I had no clue who Bob Weir is either.

But Weir, who’s name is etched on the Group 11 first grade man of the match medal, is certainly a name worth knowing.

As is Dave Scott – Group 10 loyalty taken too soon.

Scotty was a hard-nosed, old school prop who would have been proud to watch Brent Seager accept his medal as man of the match in Group 10’s grand final over at Cowra, after Panthers ended an 11-year title drought with a stunning 12-10 victory over the Magpies in Group 10.

Passing away in 2007, Scott's best work was up front with the Bathurst Penguins – a club that would eventually adopt the Panthers logo - so it seems fitting Seager now wears the Dave Scott medal following the club’s break-through title win at Sid Kallas Oval.

While celebrating the present, it’s always important to honour the past.

These awards, the Bob Weir medal and Dave Scott medal, presented on Sunday do just that.

MAN OF THE MATCH: The 2018 Bob Weir medal winner Ben Maguire.

MAN OF THE MATCH: The 2018 Bob Weir medal winner Ben Maguire.

They’re brilliant gestures awarded to those who’ve produced stirring efforts on the grandest of stages, yet also brilliant reminders of the lasting legacy of a couple of giants of bush footy.

Weir was too sick to present Maguire with his man of the match medal on Sunday, but Bob’s grandson Ryan enjoyed that job.

He also helped select Maguire as the worthy recipient. 

“It’s an honour to have my name up in this category of players,” Maguire said.

Jake Grace, Alex Bonham, Blake Tremain-Cannon, Chad Porter are in that class too. Luke Jenkins won the first two Bob Weir medals in 2003 and 2004.

But that category of player is headlined by Weir, a legend of country rugby league.

Weir made his debut for Narromine as an 18-year-old centre in 1955 and, aside from two seasons with Young in Group Nine in 1970-71, played an incredible 26 years of rugby league with the Jets.

He was a permanent fixture in the centres for Group 11, Western Division and Country and played in the Western team that finished 24-all against England at Wade Park, Orange, in 1958.

He played for NSW in 1965 and 1966. After his playing and coaching career finished Weir was made a Country selector, a position he held for nine years until 1998.

He is also a Group 11 and Western Division life member.

He captain-coached Narromine to a Group 11 premiership in 1968.

They put a lot of time in and they’ve made Group 11 what it is.

Director Paul Loxley on some of his competition's big name legends.

Weir is undoubtedly in the top echelon of players to lace a boot in Group 11. His name has been attached to the man of the mach award since 2003.

“When you see who’s come before us … Jock (Colley) was a great guy. They put a lot of time in and they’ve made Group 11 what it is," Group 11 director Paul Loxley said.

“A crowd like this today, not too many country groups would get this. Group 10 think they’ve got it but they’ve got no idea."

Well, they have some idea.

UP FRONT: Dave Scott was an imposing figure in the front-row at virtually every level of bush footy, and was a wonderful coach as well.

UP FRONT: Dave Scott was an imposing figure in the front-row at virtually every level of bush footy, and was a wonderful coach as well.

The Group went about following its western neighbour and used Dave Scott’s name as part of its grand final celebrations for the first time in 2008, 12 months after Scott tragically passed away from a heart attack aged just 39.

Scotty was a goliath of Group 10, particularly in Bathurst.

He made an enormous impact at the Penguins, playing for 10 seasons from 1990 winning two premierships in 1994 and 1997, the second as captain-coach.

He played for Group 10 and Western Division, leading the famous green and white to the 1996 Country Championship title and then coached Western to the 2004 AAMI Country Divisional Championship, too.

He was also heavily involved with the St Pat’s club.

Wade Judd won the first Dave Scott medal in 2008, and since then names like Trent Rose (2015), Benjamin John (2014), Ben McAlpine (2013) and Pat Gibson (2011) have done the same.

Seager’s a most worthy addition to that list.

​In short, and to the point, there should be more of this.

Both Group 10 and Group 11 have names of legends on awards and trophies aside from the man of the match medals in first grade grand finals.

The Fred King Cup for Group 11 reserve grade premiers and the Andrew Farrer medal for Group 10’s under 18s man of the match a few that come to mind.

But there’s some big ones without much attachment – at present they feel like a bit of a token.

The Group 10 player of the year award is just that – the player of the year award.

Earlier in 2018 the competition lost one of the genuine legends of Country Rugby League, not just Group 10.

Jock Schrader spear-headed Oberon’s incredible run throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. Ten titles in 11 years.

BROUGHT TO TEARS: Brent Seager accepts the Dave Scott medal on Sunday.

BROUGHT TO TEARS: Brent Seager accepts the Dave Scott medal on Sunday.

Jock wasn’t part of all of those wins, but he played in a large chunk of them and, ask anyone who played in that era, Schrader probably should have been playing for Australia, not Oberon.

But he loved the farm. He loved the Tigers. And Group 10 was where he carved out his legend.

The Schrader medal has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Jock Colley? Gave his all for Group 11 and was one of this region’s finest administrators, before he passed away in 2014.

Any harm in the Group 11 player of the year award becoming the Colley medal?

It’s just an idea … they’re simple measures. But simple is often the most powerful.

These guys gave a lot to bush footy in this area. There’s countless others in the same boat, too.

Both competitions already have named medals, but both player of the year gongs are the two highest individual awards in the game – let’s honour a couple of legends at the same time.