Moree’s Hayden Wiblen lands Best & Fairest Award in 30-27 win over Gunnedah

HAYDEN Wiblen savoured Moree’s amazing 30-27 win over Gunnedah last Sunday at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah on a few fronts.

First and foremost was the euphoric three-point win over the Bulldogs, after Jarvis Watton scored from a last- minute, kick-chase, miracle try set up by his cousin, Michael Watton.

The second was the win affirmed Moree’s credentials as a semi- final hopeful and a premiership threat.

The third was listening to Hayden talk after the win while sitting in the away team dressing shed and being told by Group 4 media he’d polled the three points in the WEG Group 4 Best & Fairest Award.

“Right,” he grinned.

The 28-year-old works for Agri-Ware in Moree – has done for the past 10 years and laughs with a nodding agreement to the tag of being a “veteran” on the staff.

“It’s my first year back,” he said of his Moree Boars season in the WEG Group 4 competition.

“Played rugby the last six years but decided to come back and play because of Poey (the late Paul Raveneau).

“He coached the Boars when I was 19 and played senior footie for the Boars. He was a great bloke. An absolute tragedy (his recent death). It was a massive funeral but he was friends with everyone. He was a massive influence on me, we were very close. Gave me a lot of good tips.”

Born and bred in Moree, Hayden has won a couple of premierships in second grade but here’s where Sunday’s win became even better for Hayden.

“I played a couple of junior grand-finals against Gunnedah here against the Bulldogs and got beat in both.”

It had taken him a decade or so to avenge those defeats as a teenager.

Just the recollection of those losses at Gunnedah in big games made Sunday’s euphoric finish just that little more savoury for him.

The grin widened as the realisation of revenge washed over him in a nanosecond.

It was a wonderful moment sitting there beside him, glad for him personally with his B&F award points but also for his Boars, who might have announced themselves as a distinct premiership threat if they can continue to improve.

Words and Image: Geoff Newling


Unofficial after Round 6

8: Stan Swan (Moree).

7: Dennis Gordon (Narrabri), Cody Tickle (Werris Creek).

6: Ryley Mackay (Kootingal).

5: Harlee Millgate (WC), Jacob Nichols (Narr), Hayden Wiblen (Mor).

4: Cody Byrne (Dungowan), Daniel Kelly, Bailey Taylor (North Tamworth), Kurt Hartmann (Koot), Nick Millar (Boggabri), Jake Rumsby (Narr), Aiden Davis, Reece Jaeger, Zak Turnbull  (Gunnedah).

3: Sam Taylor, Chris Vidler (Koot), Isaiah Adams, Matt Gillham, Kaylan Murray (Bogg), Daniel Jobson, Toby Howarth (Narr), Brett Jarrett (Dungowan), Livianai Tuicakau (North Tamworth), Marcus Doran (WC), Michael Watton (Mor).

2: Zac Leonard (Werris Creek), Nick White (Gunnedah), Brent McDonald, Ben Williams (Moree), Ryan Ingram, Mitch Sheridan (North Tamworth), Josh Kevill, Ben Williams (Koot), Kieren Croft, Nathan McGuire (Dun).

1: Ben Gardner, Dylan Lake (Gunn), Sam Sadler (Narr), Scott Blanch, James Cooper, Mark Simon (NT), Eden Blewitt, Bailey Lennox (Bogg), Clay Frendin (Dun), Alex Lawrence (Moree), Bryce Daniels (WC).

FIRST GRADE (for and against in brackets): Kootingal (184-108) 10, Narrabri (150-102) 10, North Tamworth (186-130) 8, Gunnedah (177-150) 6, Moree (138-140) 6, Boggabri (130-216) 4, Werris Creek (132-188) 4, Dungowan (115-170) 1.