The man who joined Norths as a reluctant recruit has left as the most decorated player in Devils’ history after starring at the 2023 Presentation Evening.
Jack Ahearn won the Harvey Norman Aspley Devils Player of the Year Award for the fifth consecutive year, breaking the record he had shared with fellow premiership captain Kevin Carmichael.
Ahearn was also named the Norths Old Boys’ Player of the Year to cap a career that ended with his retirement after the final game of the Devils’ Hostplus Cup season.
Ahearn finishes his Devils career with 107 matches, two premierships as captain and his individual honours, including the competition’s halfback of the year in 2021, when he also finished in the top three in the fullback prize.
Since the Devils first awarded the Player of the Year Award to Don Davey in 1953, famous winners have followed including Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Darryl Brohman and Matt Gillett.
Carmichael claimed four awards during his outstanding career with the Devils and Ahearn passed him with a strong finish to this season, pipping dynamic forward Sam Elliott by one vote.
Ahearn joined the Devils for the 2018 season, admitting that he really wasn’t sure if he wanted to move to the club that had struggled for success in previous years. But the Devils’ determination to coax him to Bishop Park prompted Ahearn to agree.
“This club means so much to me now and it’s been a privilege to play here and play alongside such great teammates,” Ahearn told the audience during his speech at Norths Devils Leagues Club.
“I know that Kevvie (Carmichael) has been a legend for this club and it’s an honour to be on the same trophy as him.
“I’ve retired now and it’s time to focus on my family but I’m sure you will still see me around the club in the years to come.”
Ahearn took home another big-screen television as his prize courtesy of Devils sponsors Harvey Norman Aspley. They provided the same prize for Devils’ Colts Player of the Year Harry Walters.
Elliott captured the Higgins Services Heavy Mover Award for his work in the Devils forward pack this season in his first year at Norths.
Liam Horne sent a video from the UK, where he is now playing with Castleford Tigers, to accept his Players’ Player Award.
Premiership prop Jayden Stephens was a popular winner of the Bob Bax Award for the Devils’ most promising player. It’s one of the most famous trophies at the club with a decorated list of previous winners including Cameron Smith.
The Devils farewelled its Colts team after the Queensland Rugby League decided against continuing the Under 21 competition next season.
While captain Walters was named the best player, fullback Declan Haydon received the Players’ Player Award for Colts.
The night wasn’t limited to players alone. The club took a moment to recognise the invaluable efforts of its dedicated members. In a heartwarming gesture, three new club life members were named – Les Roberson, Col McGregor, and Keith Bowman – for their unwavering commitment as volunteers over the decades.
The Kevin Carmichael Club Person of the Year award was bestowed upon someone who consistently exceeded expectations throughout the year. This year’s recipient was club chaplain, Warren Crank, who went above and beyond his role to support the team and the community.
The 2023 Norths Devils Award Winners:
- Hostplus Cup Player of the Year: Jack Ahearn
- Hostplus Cup Players Player: Liam Horne
- Higgins Services Heavy Mover: Sam Elliott
- Bob Bax Most Promising: Jayden Stephens
- Hastings Deering Colts Player of the Year: Harry Walters
- Hastings Deering Colts Players Player: Declan Haydon
- Kevin Carmichael Club Person of the Year: Warren Crank
- Life Members: Les Roberson, Col McGregor, Keith Bowman
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