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Extract from the Advocate Newspaper
Prodigal son returns to win Baldock Medal
BY MARTIN AGATYN
12 Sep, 2011 12:00 AM
A DESIRE to play football where he grew up culminated in an unexpected win in the Meadcon Darrel Baldock Medal yesterday for Smithton on-baller Clint Riley.
Riley played in the past two State League premierships with Clarence and could have easily stayed there in a quest for a third, but opted to return to the NTFL this season.
While he won't get the chance to play in his third consecutive grand final, Riley was surprised and thrilled with his NTFL best and fairest award yesterday.
In a tight and exciting vote count, Riley secured the medal in the last roster game, against Penguin, when he was voted best on ground by umpires, snatching the victory from team-mate Scott Bryan.
Bryan, the Saints skipper and medal favourite, polled two votes in the same game to take the lead before the final name was read out by NTFL president Andrew Richardson.
The count was dominated by Smithton players with four Saints in the top 10.
"I really thought Scotty (Bryan) was going to take it out," Riley said.
"I'm really honoured to win it - Darrel Baldock was a great inspiration in football and many other things," he said.
"He was an unbelievable player and if I ever become only half the player he was, I'll go a long way."
The medal was presented by Carolyn Scott, daughter of the late Darrel Baldock.
Riley said while he enjoyed his time with Clarence, his heart was really at Smithton.
"It's been great to come back and play with my mates and play where I played all my junior footy," he said.
"Tyrone Morrison was my ruckman for a few seasons and it's been great to play with him again this year."
As much as he enjoyed playing with the Saints this season, Riley, 22, was non-committal about next year and refused to rule out a return to the State League at some stage.
"I've got a desire to play State League again, but for the moment, I'm just comfortable playing for Smithton," he said.
Riley hinted he had unfinished business in the form of an NTFL flag with the Saints."As great as it is to win the medal, I'm all about team football and I really believe we had the team to go all the way this year - we just didn't play our best football in the finals."
Riley said his football inspiration had come from his father and grandfather, who had played local football.
"I've been able to take my football a bit further than they did and my father (Robert) has always encouraged me to take every opportunity," he said.
NTFL Ambassador award
Wynyard's Madison Hope has won the 2011 Meadcon NTFL Ambassador award
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