For his role in leading the Tocumwal under 14s football side to a historic premiership win in 2017, Bob Bourke was named Berrigan Shire Sportsperson of the Year on Australia Day.
Bourke (pictured) coached the young Bloods in an undefeated season.
He was specifically recognised for mentoring the young players and his dedication to the Tocumwal Football Club.
Bourke was unable to attend the ceremony in Barooga on Friday to accept his award, which was eventually presented to him on Sunday.
‘‘I don’t coach for the awards but it was nice to be nominated,’’ he said.
‘‘I enjoy training the young kids and watching their football development.
‘‘I enjoy helping them develop their life skills as well, which is more important than footy.
‘‘It wasn’t just me that helped us win the flag this year and develop players though. I had a great groups of runners, trainers and assistant coaches along the way.’’
Bourke has taken a step back from coaching this year, due to work commitments and to spend more time with his family.
But he said he will continue to be involved with the club he loves.
‘‘I’m not retiring from the club yet, but I did go out (from coaching) on a good note,’’ Bourke said.
‘‘I’ll help out the new crew when I can.’’
Tocumwal Football and Netball Club president Malcolm Hart said it was not surprising Bourke was the recipient of the Sportsperson of the Year award for 2018.
‘‘There’s no better servant to the Tocumwal Football Club than Bob,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s done every job known to man over the past 15 to 20 years, from coaching netball and football, to playing football and being president.
‘‘Having good people like Bob is so important. It’s critical to creating a good environment to the club.’’
Dedicated Bloods were also nominated in two other award categories in Berrigan Shire’s Awards, but Bourke was the only one to take home a prize.
The club’s under 14s side and the premiership winning A grade netball were also nominated for Team/Community Organisation of the Year, which was won by the Barooga Cemetery Trust Committee.
Netball star Gracie Reid was nominated for Junior Sportsperson of the Year and while the award eventually went to fellow Tocumwal resident Sascha Jones, Hart said Gracie should be proud to have been nominated.
‘‘Gracie is an outstanding netballer, she’s played senior netball since the age of 15,’’ he said.
‘‘She just keeps getting better and better and doesn’t take herself to seriously.’’
Swimming in the Victorian Country Championships in Shepparton from Friday to Sunday, Sascha was unable to collect her Junior Sportsperson of the Year prize at Tocumwal.
More on her achievements, and her performance at the championships, will be in next week’s Southern Riverina News.