Gavin Holder named Country's best

RUGBY UNION

Gavin Holder

Gavin Holder

At the ripe old age of 31, Camden Rams captain Gavin Holder has finally claimed his first Will Tanner Medal as the NSW Country Player of the Year.

Holder, a long-serving Country stalwart and the team captain for the past three years, finished runner-up on two previous occasions before making it third time lucky with another superb representative campaign in 2014.

University's Paul Tuala went close to capturing Country Player of the Year honours for the second straight season but was narrowly outpolled by Holder.

"I was surprised to actually get it with the quality of the Country side this year," Holder said.

"I'm always proud to wear the Country jersey and be a part of Country rugby, so I'm pretty proud to win player of the year."

A Rams junior, Holder broke into first grade in 2004 with West Harbour in the Shute Shield.

He returned to Camden in 2006 and fulfilled a long-time goal when he led Camden to their first Illawarra premiership in 18 years last season.

He is likely to remain available for Illawarra and Country selection in 2015.

"I haven't really decided yet," he said.

"The Country Championships are in the Illawarra next year, so that might suck me back into it."

Fourth-placed Camden are walking a semi-finals tightrope over the closing rounds and face a huge challenge against unbeaten leaders Avondale on Saturday.

"As long as we win one of our next two games we should be pretty close to the finals," Holder said.

The Rams beat Avondale 20-10 in last year's grand final.

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