Harold Snell wins Michael Cronin Medal as Ryan james takes out rookie of the year

NOWRA-Bomaderry Jets second-rower Ryan James has capped off a remarkable season by being named rookie of the year.

James was awarded the Roy Stewart Rookie of the Year at the Michael Cronin Player of the Year presentation at Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club on Friday night.

James starred for the Jets in their premiership winning season, where he was named man of the match in their 30-20 win over the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas in the grand final.

The future looks bright for the 18-year-old, who has also been picked up by the St George Illawarra Dragons under 20s for 2015.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Group 7 rookie of the year Ryan James has been signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons under 20s for 2015.

BRIGHT FUTURE: Group 7 rookie of the year Ryan James has been signed by the St George Illawarra Dragons under 20s for 2015.

Another player who looks set for a big future is Berry Magpies forward Jack Parrish, who took out the Bill James Award for under 18s player of the year.

The Michael Cronin Medal was won by Shellharbour City Sharks front rower Harold Snell.

As progressive points were shown throughout the night, Snell was still well behind some of his competition with 38 points after 15 rounds.

But a massive effort in the late rounds saw him home comfortably with 83 points ahead of Gerringong hooker Nathan Ford with 60 and Jets five-eighth Steve Brandon with 54.

The Cronin Medal had been in Snell’s sights since the start of the year and he said winning it was a massive honour.

While it was always in the back of his mind, Snell did not always believe he was in with a real shot of winning it.

CRONIN MEDAL: Rugby league legend Michael Cronin, 2014 Michael Cronin Medal winner  Harold Snell from the Shellharbour City Sharks and Kiama Leagues Club general manager John Bambury.

CRONIN MEDAL: Rugby league legend Michael Cronin, 2014 Michael Cronin Medal winner Harold Snell from the Shellharbour City Sharks and Kiama Leagues Club general manager John Bambury.

“Not at the start of the year, but then I started playing some good footy, I made rep, then I thought I might have a crack,” he said.

Snell said it was hard to say why he picked up so many points later in the season.

“I don’t really know.

“We had a lot of boys injured, so I knew I had to step up my game and help out the boys as much as I could.

“So I just lifted every game and I tried to play 80 minutes as much as I could.”

He could well be set for honours in the future after being signed by the Dragons feeder team, the Illawarra Cutters, for next year.

As much as Snell would like to keep playing for the Sharks he said he will just have to wait and see where the game takes him in 2015.

“It’s every kids dream to play in the NRL and I’ve still got that dream,” he said.

“You never know, I’ve just got to keep doing what I do and hopefully I'll get there.”

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