Gunnedah Bulldogs AFL club’s 2023 season presentation has honoured the best and fairest players, along with other club and team awards for their respective women’s Poochettes and men’s Bulldogs sides.
Midfielder and captain Adam Curgenven was a runaway winner in the men’s Frogmore Cup as the side’s best player of season 2023. He polled a total of 49 votes in front of runner up and fellow midfielder Ryan Smith who finished on 31 votes.
Poochettes’ key position backwoman Laura Ewington won her maiden gong as the women’s best player for 2023. Ewington’s 45 votes was just ahead of runner up and 2022 best and fairest Katrina Rekunow who finished just two votes behind on 43.
It turned out to be a fruitful season and evening for men’s captain Curgenven, who along with his best and fairest award, was voted by his peers as the player’s player for the men’s side this season.
Curgenven was honoured to win the award and have his name etched on the Frogmore Cup alongside the likes of multiple, best and fairest winners and club legends such as Andrew George, Scott Hardy and Brian Lenton, to name a few.
“There’s some unbelievable names on this (Frogmore Cup) and it’s an honour to be on there,” Curgenven said. “Everyone chipped in throughout the year and it’s been a tough season result-wise but a lot of fun all the same.”
Curgenven was a clear and runaway winner as the heart and soul of the Bulldogs men’s side leading from the front as captain.
In the midfield, Curgenven’s heart-and-soul contributions saw him constantly throw his body into contests no matter the opposition.
All season he led the team with heart through a will to leave everything on the field and work himself to a standstill, where in return he was unanimous in the voting by his peers as their most important player and best for the season, coinciding with his best and fairest gong.
Ewington, meanwhile, was a pillar of consistency throughout the premiership push of the Poochettes 2023 season, establishing herself as the key driver out of the backline throughout her ultra-consistent season.
Ewington and Rekunow were a one-two punch out of defence and were far and away recognised in the voting as the two standout players for the Poochettes.
For Ewington, it was her maiden best and fairest award having started with the Poochettes in their inaugural 2020 premiership season as a teenager on the rise.
She found a home on a halfback flank in 2023 and flourished in a new role where previously she had been employed as a midfielder and forward option.
Coach Jakob Vearing was delighted for Ewington, highlighting how much attention to detail she gives to training and continual attitude to improve on a yearly and weekly basis.
“She does the little things right in the game and reads the ball so well in defence,” Vearing said.
“It was no surprise to me.
“I’m sure she and others probably feel it’s a breakout year for her but to me she’s always so consistent – this (best and fairest) is just reward for her over a long period of time.”
2023 season awards
Women’s Poochettes awards and winners:
Best and Fairest: Laura Ewington
Best and Fairest runner up: Katrina Rekunow
Coach’s award: Chloe Sumpter
Rising star: Alexa Walker
Best back: Abbey Ruttley
Most improved: Chelsea Palmer
Players player: Katrina Rekunow
Team woman: Braie Devine
Men’s Bulldogs awards and winners:
Best and Fairest: Adam Curgenven
Best and Fairest runner up: Ryan Smith
Backman: Darcy Hill
Player’s player: Adam Curgenven
Coach’s award: Dan Pass
Rising star: Tom Carlyon
Most improved: Travis Oakley
Team man: Corey Robinson
Club awards and winners:
Social award: Beccy Wilson
Club volunteer: Nick Baird
50 games: Khobi Devine
Outstanding contribution and thank you from the club: The Ewington family
Clubman of the Year: Andy Mack