Biloela league star off to the Dragons

LEADER OF THE PACK: Panthers Prop Josh Adornato won the club's footballer of the year award.  Picture by RUSSEL GUSE.
LEADER OF THE PACK: Panthers Prop Josh Adornato won the club's footballer of the year award. Picture by RUSSEL GUSE.

YOUNG Panthers boom prop Josh Adornato could be wearing the famous red V of the St George-Illawarra Dragons next season.

The 21-year-old celebrated his birthday earlier this week by claiming the Panthers Footballer Of The Year trophy.

Adornato also spoke to Central Telegraph about his move to Wollongong where he has his eyes on a spot in the Dragons reserve grade side.

After a season of strong performances that regularly drew praise from outgoing Panthers coach Layton Campbell, Adornato still didn't expect the gong for the club's best player.

“I was pretty excited when I heard my name, I definitely wasn't expecting it,” Adornato said.

“I know there were a few other boys that I thought deserved it.

“I think it was my consistency each week that might have won me it,” the young bookend said.

Adornato made his first grade debut in 2007, playing four games.

Last year he played under 20s and A grade most weeks.

Adornato started playing rugby league at under 7s with Mick Morgan as his coach, who had him under his tutelage for most of his junior football.

He took two years off in 2004 and 2005 to start his carpentry trade, but started back up in 2006.

“I love the intensity and aggression in the game and just the mateship, you meet a lot of great blokes,” Adornato said. He said he learnt a lot from Campbell, who gave him the opportunity to go to the Dragons, with Campbell having connections at the club.

“I'm moving down to Wollongong around the start of November to start pre-season training with the Dragons reserve side. To play for any NRL team would be unreal, [I'm] just gonna take it a step at a time.

“It's a pretty big jump from country footy to where I'm going, but I'm looking forward to the experience and will give it everything I've got.”

Other A-grade players to win awards at the club's presentation night on Saturday include: Josh Kirwood (best back), Jason Scott (best forward), Tyler Wright (best & fairest); Laurie Crawford Memorial Trophy - Nathan Campbell, Clubperson of the Year Mike Fitzgibbons, Life Member - Mick Morgan.

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