He may be the District League's newly-minted player of the year, but Josh Hawker is ready to hit the ground running to lead Gerringong to glory in 2024.
The young striker on Friday night received the prestigious Neville Arrowsmith Medal following a superb 2023 campaign with the Breakers. Hawker also picked up the league's Sharp-Shooter Award after scoring 21 goals during the regular season.
Hawker - who previously played for Premier League clubs South Coast United and Wollongong Olympic - was also was a driving force behind Gerringong's impressive campaign in the District League. The 2022 Community League champions finished in fifth position before surging ahead to finish just one game short of the grand final.
The 23-year-old joins the likes of Jarrod Benham and Nathan Mucci as past winners of the Neville Arrowsmith Medal. And he says he is determined to taste more success next year with the Breakers.
"I'm ecstatic with his award, it's something that I wouldn't have expected at the start of the year. You don't play for personal achievements - you play to win with your team, family and friends - but words can't explain how good this feels," Hawker told the Mercury.
"At the start of the year, all of the boys had the belief that we could build something special and push for the top. But as the year went on, we had a couple of tough results and heads started to drop. But we got together and had a big chat about what our goals were for the year and we came together as a club to show what Gerringong is all about. We pushed right to the end, which is a credit to everyone.
"Speaking to all of the boys, and I can definitely say myself, that we're keen to come back next year hungrier than ever. Hopefully the goal is to win the comp and win the grand final if we can. But we'll start pre-season soon and go from there."
Neville Arrowsmith Medal: Josh Hawker (Gerringong).
Second Grade Player of Year: Conor O'Brien (University of Wollongong).
Youth Grade Player of Year: Noah Biddulph (Thirroul).
Coach of the Year: Rod Williams (Shellharbour).
Club Champions: Gerringong Breakers.
Golden Glove Award: Blake Coad (Shellharbour).
Fair Play Award: University of Wollongong.
First Grade Sharp-Shooter of Year: Josh Hawker (Gerringong).
Second Grade Sharp-Shooter of Year: Jack Ray (Gerringong).
Youth Grade Sharp-Shooter of Year: Stuart Forbes (Thirroul).
First Grade Champions: Shellharbour FC.
Second Grade Champions: Gerringong Breakers.
Youth Grade Champions: Thirroul Thunder.
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