The people have spoken, in a massive way.
More than 5,000 votes rolled in for The People's Choice Central West Rugby Union Team Of The Yearand with that, with every nominee put forward by the Central Western Daily's experts polling along with a giant number of additional candidates being put forward.
All three of the men's tiers in the Blowes Clothing Cup, New Holland Agriculture Cup and Oilsplus Cups along with the Westfund Ferguson Cup have representatives, although the side is absolutely brimming with Bathurst-based stars from Bulldogs and CSU.
Before the side is announced a number of honorable mentions must be made based on how many votes they polled without being nominated. Without being nominated initially Zach McManus (Wellington Redbacks), Mark Donnelly (Bathurst Bulldogs), Angus Forster (Cootamundra Tri-Colours) and Brad Glasson (Bathurst Bulldogs) all polled well, but didn't quite get the nod.
Without further adieu, we present The People's Choice Central West Rugby Union Team Of The Year.
THE PROPS: Bathurst Bulldogs' premiership-winning booked AARON BOOBY and Temora's country championship-winner AMIE FAZEKAS were runaway winners here, in the most voted-on position of all. Almost 900 votes rolled in for the props, with these two taking care of almost 50 per cent of them combined. Booby, the loosehead, ended up claiming the most with 22.4 per cent while Fazekas, our tighthead, claimed 22 per cent.
THE HOOKER: Bulldogs skipper PETER FITZSIMMONS led his side to the Blowes Clothing Cup title, won player-of-the-year and he was in Central West's title-winning side, which the public obviously appreciated. He claimed 28.69 per cent of the voting to edge out Orange Emus' Charlie Henley.
THE SECOND-ROWERS: JONAH RUZGAS was largely considered CSU Bathurst's best forward this year and rightfully so, it seems. The young lock was a clear winner here, receiving 22.59% of almost 500 votes. He also made the NSW Country Colts squad and his second-row partner in Bulldogs' MEL WATERFORD made the women's equivalent. Bulldogs' skipper, she led her side to the Westfund Ferguson Cup title and received 15.06 per cent of the votes.
THE FLANKERS: Orange Emus' SIMON BADGERY, back to full fitness this year, and Molong's JOSH PEFFER, the Oilsplus Cup Northern Division's 2018 and 2019 player-of-the-year, form a brutal combination on the sides of the scrum after receiving 16.91 per cent and 16.62 per cent of the votes.
THE NO.8: Rounding out the pack and forming a bumper, bustling back row with Badgery and Peffer is Bulldogs' ALEX WEAL, who became the fourth from his club to get voted into the side with 28.01 per cent of the votes. He finished 25 in front of next-best Bec Smyth, from Narromine.
THE HALFBACK: He claimed the Oilsplus Cup South-West Division MVP gong and all of Boorowa got behind BRENDAN McGRATH here, the nippy half receiving 29.8 per cent of the votes to edge out Emus' Em McDonald.
THE CENTRES: This one was clearly a no-brainer, with CSU's unbelievable pairing of JACK KEPPEL and REGAN HUGHES never in doubt of missing out. They combined to pick up almost half the votes with 20.99 and 23.81 per cent respectively. As they do for their club, Keppel slots in at inside with Hughes at outside. Emus' Lachie Harris the next best but still a distant third, 53 votes behind.
THE WINGERS: Narromine's JAKOB BRENNAN romped home with more than 26.52 per cent of the votes and finished a full 65 in front of Bulldogs' COURTNEY AULD, who received 15.23 per cent to win the second spot on the edge. Both scored a whopping amount of tries this season and would provide this side with pace, and supreme finishing skills.
THE FULLBACK:Another easy decision in the end, it seems. Forbes' LILLYANN MASON-SPICE had a huge year for her club and one the rep scene, one that's not finished yet either, and she received 38.51 per cent of votes to wear the No.15 jersey.
THE COACH:Familiar with plenty of the players he'd be mentoring, title-winning CSU Bathurst coach DAVE CONYERS deservedly gets the nod here after orchestrating the Mitchell Men's remarkable New Holland Agriculture Cup triumph. He received 36.12 per cent of the votes.
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