Nathan Whatman, Luke Petrie share Alex Armstrong Medal after great seasons in 2021

BIG YEAR: Canowindra prop Nathan Whatman scored 16 tries throughout his Alex Armstrong Medal winning 2021 with the Tigers. Photo: CANOWINDRA TIGERS
BIG YEAR: Canowindra prop Nathan Whatman scored 16 tries throughout his Alex Armstrong Medal winning 2021 with the Tigers. Photo: CANOWINDRA TIGERS

Nathan Whatman's 2021 season will just about get him kicked out of the front-rower's club.

And he has another prop to blame.

The Canowindra Tigers star was on Friday night crowned the Woodbridge Cup's player of the year, winning the Alex Armstrong medal alongside Manildra half Luke Petrie after the pair ended the season on 21 votes each.

But you could argue that's not Whatman's most impressive feat this winter.

The 23-year-old representative prop scored a league-leading 16 tries for the Tigers last season, and if you add his four-pointer while playing for Woodbridge in a rep game his tally edges ever-so-higher.

One try is usually not bad for a front-rower, but 17?

"It's a bit unbelievable," Whatman laughed looking at his try-scoring feats in black and gold.

"Ronnie Lawrence helped me a lot. I was off his hip a fair bit. We worked well together.

"He's played so much Group 10 first grade, he's pretty switched on. A big credit to Ronnie. I owe him a few schooners."

Whatman says he was stunned to share the Armstrong medal with Petrie: "I thought Peckers had it sewn up when I saw the board."

Luke Petrie puts the boot in for Manildra. Photo: KRISTY WILLIAMS

Luke Petrie puts the boot in for Manildra. Photo: KRISTY WILLIAMS

But few could argue the votes didn't get it right.

Petrie was sensation for Manildra all season, and was easily the best half in the Cup competition in his debut year guiding the mighty charging Rhinos after COVID wiped out the 2020 season in its entirety.

While Whatman was arguably one of the best forwards in the entire division, let alone the Woodbridge Cup.

Their individual seasons led to great campaigns for both the Tigers and Rhinos and many were predicting both sides to feature prominently in the finals series.

Throw in the likes of the in-form Eugowra, Trundle and Molong and the biggest games of 2021 were also going to be some of the closest the Cup has seen.

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But lockdowns across the region due to a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout August put an end to the business end of the season before a ball was kicked.

Whatman says that disappointment - in Canowindra's 100th season, too - will drive a lot of the Tigers boys heading into 2022.

Whatman says he's keen to remain at the Tigers this season - he's been at the club since his dad Andrew took on the president's job - but admits a shot at Group footy is also on the cards.

"(Coach) Kev Grimshaw has helped out a lot with my running and defence, but definitely I'll try and have a crack (in Group 10 or Group 11," he said.

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