INSPIRING: Ollie Howden Medal winner Dean Blackman with wife Rachael and daughter Piper.
INSPIRING: Ollie Howden Medal winner Dean Blackman with wife Rachael and daughter Piper. CONTRIBUTED

Family plays special part in league star's medal win

RUGBY LEAGUE: Dean Blackman credits his baby girl with inspiring the career-best form that won him the Ollie Howden Medal for season 2019.

The Yeppoon hooker claimed Rockhampton Rugby League's highest honour with one of the biggest margins in recent history.

He finished on 26 points, 11 clear of runner-up Darcy Davey from Norths.

Yeppoon's Tamika Upton (21 points) won the Women's Player of the Year from Rockhampton Brothers Mackenzie Reid (20 points).

Tamika Upton.Photo Contributed
Yeppoon Seagulls player Tamika Upton won the Women's Player of the Year. Contributed ROK18041tamika2

Blackman said the prestigious award had, in some way, helped ease the pain of missing his team's grand final win.

The 27-year-old, who had set the A-grade competition alight this year, broke his leg in a workplace accident two days before the first semi-final.

"It was definitely hard watching on from the sidelines,” he said.

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"I was a bit emotional about all that for a couple of weeks as you would be but it was really good to see the boys pull through the way they did.

"They really deserved it.”

Blackman said it was "pretty special” to claim the Ollie Howden for the first time.

"There was a lot of hard work put into the year so it was an honour to get it,” he said.

"I was a bit surprised at how much I did win by.

Dean Blackman working his magic
Dean Blackman won the Ollie Howden Medal for 2019 after a stellar season with the Yeppoon Seagulls.

"I think this year I worked a lot harder on the little things, getting myself to a position where I was able to help the boys better, whether that was doing extras or working on my weaknesses.”

Blackman said the support of his family, and the tight-knit playing group and coaching staff at Yeppoon had contributed to him receiving the accolade.

"We're a very close unit and that was a key factor in the success,” he said.

"The coaching staff have created a great environment and it was pretty easy to play off the back of that.

"I definitely would say the support from my family was also a motivation.

"A few people asked me where the form came from this year and all I can put it down to is my daughter Piper.

"She's changed my life.

"There's no better feeling when you run out and your family's there supporting you, especially your daughter.”


  • 2019 Ollie Howden Medal: Dean Blackman (Yeppoon)
  • Women's Player of the Year: Tamika Upton (Yeppoon)
  • Reserve Grade Player of the Year: Sam Granville (Rockhampton Brothers)
  • Under-20 Player of the Year: Kejanu Doyle (Norths)
  • Male Rookie of the Year: Travis Field (Emu Park)
  • Female Rookie of the Year: Tylah Phillips (Emu Park)
  • Rockhampton Junior Rugby League International Player of the Year: Jai Hansen (Rockhampton Brothers)