SCOREBOARD BEHIND THE SMILE: Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan after they bested Ballina at Oakes Oval. Whalan was named the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest. Photo: Alison Paterson
SCOREBOARD BEHIND THE SMILE: Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan after they bested Ballina at Oakes Oval. Whalan was named the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest. Photo: Alison Paterson

Passion, skill, dedication and hard work really does pay off

PROOF that passion, skills, dedication and hard, hard work does pay off has seen a Northern Rivers coach captain take out a prestigious sporting award.

And if you need validation of his leadership ability, one of his teammates was the runner-up.

On Wednesday September 9, the AFLQ announced Timmy Whalan, 29, the recipient of the QFA Northern Rivers League Best and Fairest for Reserve Grade in 2020 and teammate Hamish Clacher was runner-up.

BEST & FAIREST: Two Lismore Swans reserves players made the top two in the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest with coach-captain Timmy Whalan (kneeling third from right) winning the award and teammate Hamish Clacher runner up (middle back with beard). Photo: Alison Paterson
BEST & FAIREST: Two Lismore Swans reserves players made the top two in the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest with coach-captain Timmy Whalan (kneeling third from right) winning the award and teammate Hamish Clacher runner up (middle back with beard). Photo: Alison Paterson

Whalan, who plays in the midfield, said the award was a real team effort.

Speaking from his day job as a teacher at Lismore South Public School, Whalan said the award was a fantastic way to end the season.

BEST ON GROUND: Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan (number 12) was named the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest. Photo: Alison Paterson
BEST ON GROUND: Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan (number 12) was named the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest. Photo: Alison Paterson

“I can’t believe I won this because we only played six of the eight games because Ballina pulled out,” he said.

“I really thought that a player from Byron would overtake me with points.”

PLAYING FAIR: When Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan gave this halftime talk at Oakes Oval he had no idea he would win the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest with teammate Hamish Clacher runner-up. Photo: Alison Paterson
PLAYING FAIR: When Lismore Swans reserves player-coach Timmy Whalan gave this halftime talk at Oakes Oval he had no idea he would win the AFLQ Northern Rivers 2020 Best & Fairest with teammate Hamish Clacher runner-up. Photo: Alison Paterson

Lismore senior men’s coach Joey Mitchell said the award was well-deserved.

“Considering the reserves drew one game and won one game this season, it’s an incredible effort,” he said.

“And for two of those games Timmy also filled in for the senior side afterwards; playing back-to-back footy matches is pretty tough.

“Timmy had led the reserves well and this win is a pretty handsome little package at this standard of football.”

Mitchell said Whalan, who has been with the club for seven years, worked hard on developing the culture and dynamics of the reserve grade team this season.

Whalan said coaching older players was a challenge, but one he’s enjoyed.

And he congratulated Clacher on his efforts.

“This is my first time coaching a senior side after coaching juniors,” Whalan said.

“If I’m proud of anything, it’s having a consistent side of players every week, they are a really great bunch and I really loved playing footy with them.”

Clacher, 28, who plays in the ruck said it was an honour to come second to Whalan.

“It’s always good to play with someone like Timmy who really lifts everyone on the team when they play,” Clacher said.

RESERVES VICTORY: Swans reserves coach Tim Whalan and Tom Standish check their winning tactics when the Lismore Swans played the Ballina Bombers at Oakes Oval on July 25, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
RESERVES VICTORY: Swans reserves coach Tim Whalan and Tom Standish check their winning tactics when the Lismore Swans played the Ballina Bombers at Oakes Oval on July 25, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson