Jerry Key in the win over the PNG Hunters, which he rated one of the most memorable games of the season.
Jerry Key in the win over the PNG Hunters, which he rated one of the most memorable games of the season. Allan Reinikka ROK290318acapras7

See who was named the CQ Capras' Player of the Year

RUGBY LEAGUE: Humbled, honoured and grateful.

That is how Jerry Key felt after being awarded the CQ Capras' top gong for the 2018 season.

The hard-working second rower received the Player of the Year award at the club's presentation dinner at the Rockhampton Leagues Club on Friday night.

He was also named best forward after a stellar first season with the Intrust Super Cup club.

Key played 23 games, averaged 14 carries and 36 tackles a game, and won five man of the match awards.

The 27-year-old is yet to decide if he will line up for the Capras again next year but it was clear from his on-field performances that he relished his time there.

Capras - Jerry Key in the QRL game against Townsville Blackhawks at Browne Park.
Jerry Key goes on the attack against the Townsville Blackhawks. Chris Ison ROK020618ccapras7

He said the most satisfying thing was just how complete his game was this year.

"From the last couple of years, I've transitioned more from the outside backs into the middle where I've had to use a bit more of my skill set,” he said.

"I've just been pretty happy with how I've been able to adapt and fully utilise my complete arsenal of skills, to the best of my ability and for the best of the team.”

Key was indebted to departing coach Kim Williams for giving him an opportunity with the Capras, and said it was hard to put into words just how amazing the playing group was.

"If I had all the money in the world I would keep this group together,” he said.

"Obviously there are other circumstances dragging players away but you can't buy culture.

"What we created this year, I think that's truly special and I hope they continue that in the years to come.”

Key rated the first and last games of the season as the most memorable.

Jerry Key.Capras vs Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Jerry Key goes in for a try against the Sunshine Coast Falcons. Mike Richards GLA180818CAPR

He said the team defied the odds to beat the highly fancied Easts Tigers in Round 1, and showed just what they were capable of by knocking reigning premiers PNG out of the finals race with a stunning win in Round 24.

Williams said Key was a deserved recipient and popular choice for Player of the Year.

"If we asked all the players, I think 90 per cent of them would have picked Jerry straight away.

"I knew from the first conversation with him on the phone that he was the type of person we needed in the club.

"His humility is one of his greatest assets. He became a mentor to many of the younger players in the club, not just in our team but the under-20s and under-18s.

"That's probably his greatest quality - he makes people around him better on and off the field and to me that's the greatest quality anyone can have.”

Capras' Jerry Key.
Capras' Jerry Key. Allan Reinikka ROK250818acapras4

Key has headed back to New Zealand for some well-earned rest and recreation, and said he was not going to rush a decision on his future.

"NBA 2K19 has just come out so I think I'm going to be playing on my PlayStation for a week or two and see how we go from there,” he said.

"I've loved it here. I've just packed up my car and it was very emotional doing it.

"It feels like I've grown up here... I feel like I'm part of the furniture here.

"I'm going to miss this place if I decide to hang it up or move elsewhere. I've loved my time here in Rockhampton so far and I've loved representing the Capras.”

AWARD WINNERS

  • Best Back: Connor Broadhurst
  • Best Forward: Jerry Key
  • Players' Player: Jamie Hill
  • Rookie of the year: Jamie Hill
  • Player of the Year: Jerry Key
  • Spirit of the Capras Award: Kim Williams