This past Sunday the Kill Cliff Atlanta Rhinos held their inaugural awards ceremony at “The Bird”. As part of the event a letter from coach Jordan Smedley, who is now back in Australia, was read aloud to thank all those who made the year so special.
The awards for the 2014 season were:
Most Improved Forward – Chris Fajemisin
Most Improved Back – Terrence Williams
Best Forward – Dustin Syas
Best Back – Brad Foster
Coaches Player of the Year – Nick Newlin
Players Player of the Year – Dustin Syas
Clubman of the Year – David “Airforce” Knicely
In addition to the awards and a great season, the Rhinos also had a number of players represent the USA Pioneers Team against the visiting New Zealand Blue Thunder in August.
Zach Blalock, Terrence Williams, Mark Rusinski, NIck Newlin, Dustin Syas, Brad Foster, Derris Taylor and Justin Syas.
A word from the Coach.
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and thank you for attending the Atlanta Rhinos awards banquet for season 2014.
I would like to start by thanking our sponsors, Title Sponsor, Kill Cliff Sports Recovery Drink, Presenting sponsor, Carpet Care Multi Services and our associate sponsors, JC Newman/Brickhouse Cigars, Yuengling/Eagle Rock Brewing Company, Copa Divino Wines, Ameris Bank, Accelerated Truck Mounts, Team Octopus, Wilson Hutch Realty and last but not least, the wonderful establishment you are all occupying this afternoon, The Bird. Without all the support of these companies the Atlanta Rhinos would not be in the strong position we find ourselves in today.
To our partner club, the Leeds Rhinos and their CEO Gary Hetherington, we thank you also. It truly is a wonderful initiative and an honour not only share the rhinos name but to be associated with a club that has experienced continued success at the highest level of the sport over a substantial period of time. Special Congratulations from us here at the Atlanta Rhinos on your most recent triumph, securing the Challenge Cup at Wembley.
To our amazing members and fans, along with wives, girlfriend’s, family and friends of the squad, we thank you for your continued support, especially at our home games at Silverback Park, your presence was felt! You as a supporter are a massive part of the culture we are building at the Atlanta Rhinos, from myself and the playing group I hope we were able to meet your expectations on and off the field in 2014.
From myself and the fellow Australian imports, Dave Barrie and Bruce Barrie, a massive thank you to the following people, Daryl Spinner Howland and Drew Slover from South Eastern Rugby League, and our CEO Bob Taylor along with Randall Joseph and Greg Frost, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this great club in its inaugural season. To Salesi Tongamoa, thank you for your assistance at training and on game day, I look forward to seeing you back in action in 2015. To our club captain David Knicely, thanks you for your efforts Airforce, they haven’t gone unnoticed.
For myself personally to be the inaugural coach of the Atlanta Rhinos is an honour that I hold in the highest regard and will cherish forever. From myself, Dave and Bruce We thank you for all your continued support on and off the field throughout the season and your wonderful hospitality, it’s second to none.
Now for the playing group, gentlemen it was an honour and a privilege to coach and play alongside you in season 2014. Your dedication and commitment was second to none, not to mention the athleticism and natural ability that the majority of you are fortunate enough to possess it blew myself, Dave and Bruce away on more than one occasion and is something I haven’t witnessed previously with rookie players in all my time associated with the game, both as a coach and as a player. I thoroughly enjoyed working with you all as I hope you did with myself and I hope you were able to learn as much from myself as I have from you all this season.
Although the National Championship was out of reach for us this season, I feel 2014 was a successful campaign for the Atlanta Rhinos. The rapid improvement shown as individuals but most importantly as a squad in a short period of time was incredible and I have no doubt the experienced gained from this season along with the likely player retention and recruitment for season 2015 will put this club in a position to genuinely challenge for the National Championship for many seasons to come. I look forward to what the future holds for the Atlanta Rhinos.
And finally to the Award winners, congratulations the awards you have received are just reward for your hard work and dedication. Be proud of your achievement.
I hope to see you all again in season 2015.
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