SAM Schmidt isn’t a name renowned as one of the Blowes Clothing Cup’s biggest, but it should be – the 23-year-old Mudgee Wombats flanker is seriously good.
So good, the gun backrower won the 2016 Central West Rugby Union player of the year, presented with the award at the presentation post first grade game on Saturday.
Originally, the young-gun wasn’t going to attend the grand final.
The two-hour drive from Mudgee to Orange’s Endeavour Oval probably a fair reason why.
But Schmidt’s father had other ideas.
“I had no idea. My old man dragged me over here … he had the idea,” the shaggy-haired Schmidt said.
“It’s great. It’s exciting, a bit out of the blue.”
Schmidt is the leading light in Mudgee rugby at the moment.
Their best in 2016, the work-a-holic backrower says there’s plenty of strong years ahead for the Batties as they work towards emerging as contenders in 2017.
“That’d be good,” Schmidt added.
“We had a good year last year, making the finals, but this year was tougher.
“We’ve got a young team, our colts made the finals this year and we’ve got good juniors coming through.
“There’s a few good years ahead of us yet.”
The club congratulated him on their website.
“Sam has consistently been one of the Wombat’s best over the last few seasons and fully deserves this accolade. His tireless displays week in and week out have made him one of the most influential players in the Blowes Cup competition. He has skill and determination in bucket loads and has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time.”
Schmidt wasn’t the only Wombat recognised on Saturday. Women’s player Marita Shoulders was named the Central West’s Kieran Duncan Perpetual Award winner for the player of the grand final in their loss to Cowra.