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The extra bumps and bruises Mat Bird collected throughout Wauchope Blues' challenging 2022 Group 3 rugby league campaign were all worth it after he was awarded the Ged Roods Memorial Trophy.
Bird was the one constant in a season of change for the injury-ravaged Blues where a new name was added to the casualty ward every weekend.
The 29-year-old lock forward was rewarded with the coveted trophy at the club's end of season presentation night.
"Ged was my best mate, he was my groomsman at my wedding (and) he MC'd my wedding so to win an award that's named after him means everything," Bird said.
Whenever Bird drove out to Lank Bain Sporting Complex and pulled up behind the grandstand he always had Roods in the back of his mind.
"I know the amount of work he used to put into the club and how well he ran it so I use his memories as motivation to do what I do," he said.
Bird was the joint winner alongside ladies league tag fullback Larissa Ward.
"It's for the player that dominates their respective competition," he said.
Any player across the four grades at the club could win it with points awarded on a 3, 2, 1 basis every week with the player who accumulates the most amount of points crowned the winner.
"This is the second year they've done this award and Larissa got it the first year and we were joint winners this year," Bird said.
The Blues lost co-captain Beau Kettle to injury early in the season which left Bird to shoulder the burden and provide on-field leadership for his young teammates.
"To have a challenging season and then that award at the end of it makes it all worthwhile," he said.
"Being that leader out there... these young kids need someone to look up to and hopefully I'm doing a job where I inspire them to keep playing grade footy."
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