History has been made in the Illawarra Rugby Union, with a tie resulting in joint coach of the year recipients for the first time.
The award is voted on by the competition’s first grade coaches and the votes could not be split between University’s Dion Miller and Bowral’s Gene Fairbanks.
Miller was forced to battle through considerable adversity throughout the year, with his side suffering a wretched injury toll. Despite using 51 players in first grade this season, Miller almost steered his side to Saturday’s grand final, with the bid derailed by his co-recipient, Fairbanks, in last week’s preliminary final.
Fairbanks has now won the award in each of the three years he has spent in Bowral.
While proud to receive the accolade, Fairbanks credited his assistants at Bowral for helping the club reach such lofty heights.
“It’s always good getting awards, but it’s a collective effort with other coaches,” Fairbanks said. “I’ve got a great group of coaches with great football minds around me.”