With his focus firmly on the NSW Country Eagles' so-far undefeated National Rugby Championship campaign Orange's Jack Grant hasn't had much time to reflect on 2019 yet, but there's no denying the diminutive half enjoyed a pretty special Intrust Super Shute Shield season.
Arguably the form halfback of the competition for almost the entire season, many considered Grant unlucky not to take home the Ken Catchpole Medal for player-of-the-year, although the individual rewards still came thick and fast.
He was the competition's leading try-scorer with 14, three ahead of Sydney University's Harry Potter, and his club season was capped off at Eastern Suburbs' presentation night last weekend where he was named the Beasties' best and fairest.
I'd give them up straight away for us to have gone further into the finals, or won the competition.Orange's Jack Grant, on his individual accolades
"It was good, I thought I had a pretty good year and was obviously pretty proud to win the award the other night. I got a bit lucky with the try-scorer award though I think, I just got the reward from a lot of good lead-up work a lot of the time," Grant said.
As the best of them do, Grant naturally said he'd trade those individual awards for a premiership in a heartbeat.
His Beasties were tipped as contenders in the pre-season before struggling for consistency, although they found form in the back end to qualify for the finals before being bounced out by Eastwood in the opening week.
"Obviously you don't play for those individual things but they are nice to win, but like anyone else will tell you I'd give them up straight away for us to have gone further into the finals, or won the competition," Grant said.
"We still had a good season, making the finals was a good result from where we were midway through the year, we probably just needed a bit more consistency and we'll look for that next season."
He wasn't the only Orange product to have the spotlight thrust on them at Easts' night of nights either, with former Kinross and Australian Schoolboys flanker Donny Freeman taking home the colts grade's equivalent award.
"It was great to see Donny win that one, he certainly deserved. Everyone at the club loves him and he's been a great fit so it'll be good to see what he can do from here on," Grant said.
Grant said the desire to push further into the Shute Shield finals in 2020 burns deeply within Easts' playing group and there's potential he'll be named captain for that campaign, but he's not looking further than the Eagles' title tilt just yet.
He's taken his form into the NRC too, standing up to be counted in the Eagles' season-opening wins, the first of which came over Sydney in Dubbo.
"It's all about the NRC at the moment so we'll see how that goes, it's going well so far, I'll just try and put my best foot forward there and see what happens," Grant said.
NSW Country's campaign continues against the Fijian Drua at WIN Stadium on Saturday afternoon, from 4pm.
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