Season's best honoured

IT was a night of reflection on a mediocre season, a celebration of individual achievements and the anticipation of a better year ahead.

The Penrith Panthers hosted the 2012 annual presentation night with an elaborate function at the Panthers Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Winning the night's final award, the Merv Cartwright Award for NRL Player of the Year, was hooker and team captain Kevin Kingston.

"Ivan's given me the chance to play 80 minutes this year and I'm very grateful for that," Kingston said upon accepting the award.

"I didn't think I'd even get to one game of first grade but once you get one, you want to get 100 and this is the result."

Confirming his popularity among club supporters, fullback turned five-eighth Lachlan Coote collected the Members Player of the Year Award.

"I want to thank all the fans for turning out this year," Coote said.

"Obviously we didn't do you well but we're going on to bigger and better things so hopefully we can do you proud next year."

Rising talent Josh Mansour — who made his first grade debut on the wing in round nine and went on to score seven tries in 14 games — received the Ben Alexander Award for Rookie of the Year.

"The coaching staff put faith in me at the beginning of the season," he said.

"Hopefully I did well and made them proud.

"I did have some issues last year and the year before I had been knocked back a couple of times.

"I don't know if it was stubbornness or just persistence but I always wanted to play in the NRL and hopefully next year I can be a part of it again."

Other awards presented on the night were the John Farragher Award for Courage and Determination — which went to Kingston — and Clubman of the Year, which was awarded to Panthers talent scout Jim Jones.

The NYC Player of the Year was handed to Panthers Toyota Cup skipper Vaipuna Tia Kilifi, and Windsor Wolves Player of the Year went to Arana Taumata.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould named a Coote hit on Akuila Uate as his tackle of the year while Mansour's 60th minute try in the side's round 25 clash against the Titans was branded best try of the year.

A video tribute was also shown to recognise departing players Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon and Travis Burns.

MC was Andrew Voss while comedian Mick Meredith and musical act, Boys In The Band, were special guest performers.

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