If Adam Clydsdale only plays the single Newcastle Rugby League season, the Maitland Pickers hooker has made it one to remember.
The former NRL representative received the competition’s highest individual honour at McDonald Jones Stadium on Wednesday night, named 2018 player of the year at Newcastle’s annual presentation.
Clydsdale collected 20 points throughout the Real NRL campaign and managed to stave off fast-finishing Souths fullback Lachlan Walmsley (18) to claim the coveted prize by just two.
In doing so the 25-year-old Scone junior became the third dummy-half in five seasons to clinch the top gong, following in the footsteps of Lakes’ Chris Adams (2015) and Macquarie’s Chris Hyde (2014).
Clydsdale was also voted players’ player by his peers.
Pickers president Frank Lawler said Clydsdale, who originally signed at Maitland in December after walking away from a one-year contract at the Canberra Raiders, hadn’t made any commitments for 2019.
“He [Clydsdale] is undecided at this stage,” Lawler said.
“If he plays in Newcastle, he’ll play with us. He’s given us that. He loves it at Maitland. But his girlfriend Yasmin [Meakes] lives in Sydney and plays rugby sevens [for Australia] so he is tossing up whether to move or stay at home.
“We’ll give him as much time as he needs.”
Clydsdale, who notched up 57 NRL games for the Knights, Canberra and Cronulla between 2013 and 2017, was instrumental in putting Maitland back in the title mix for the first time since 2012.
The Pickers fell one win short of the minor premiership after back-to-back losses in the last two rounds and dropped back to fourth overall on a congested ladder.
They were then knocked out by high-flying Kurri Kurri in the opening week of finals at Maitland earlier this month.
In the race towards Newcastle Rugby League player of the year Clydsdale was almost reeled in by Walmsley, who picked up nine of a possible 15 points in the closing five rounds.
Central pivot Brad Murray was third on 17 points while Lakes captain Shaun Boss (13) and Butcher Boys playmaker Terence Seu Seu (12) round out the top five.
Elsewhere and outgoing Lakes mentor Todd Edwards was named coach of the year after guiding his young chargers to a first-place finish in his maiden season at the helm at Belmont.
Cessnock’s Harry O’Brien received rookie of the year while Newcastle Rebels skipper Warren Schillings was nominated the best representative player.
Kurri’s Rachel Sharpe was voted players’ player for ladies league tag.
After 16 rounds, Walmsley was the top try scorer with 17 while Maitland’s Ryan Walsh was the highest point scorer with 104.
PLAYER OF YEAR: Adam Clydsdale 20, Lachlan Walmsley 18, Brad Murray 17, Shaun Boss 13, Terence Seu Seu 12.
COMING HOME:NRL hooker to play on after Canberra exit