Parramatta captain Adrian Musico wants his club to parlay a historic Ken Catchpole Medal win into tangible growth for rugby in western Sydney.
Musico became the first Two Blues player in the history of the Shute Shield to take out the top individual honour on Tuesday night.
The openside breakaway, who also captained his side this season, polled 17 votes, holding off West Harbour flanker Kelly Meafua (16) and Southern Districts captain Marcus Carbone (15).
The result was announced to huge cheers from the audience at the Hilton Hotel, and came as a surprise to Musico given the Two Blues’ 10th-place finish in the Sydney club competition. Sydney University won the Shield after beating Warringah 45-12 on Saturday.
“It was a huge shock to be honest, I had no idea,” Musico said.
It’s finally good to get a win [for the club]. Personal accolade aside, it’s just a small win considering what’s going on with rugby in western Sydney, but it’s a step in the right direction for the club and we can hopefully build on it.”
Two Blues president Brian Blacklock said the win was a reflection of the competition’s values.
“There was a lot of applause from a lot of the clubs. I guess they were partly cheering for us because we wear the underdog tag and they were also cheering in acknowledgement of Adrian and how well respected he is.”
Blacklock revealed the club was working on a major overhaul in the lead-up to next season, involving a new name, a bigger catchment and the $11 million redevelopment of their Granville Park home.
“We are re-branding to the Western Sydney Two Blues to broaden our reach beyond Parramatta,” he said.
“Our juniors are from Baulkham Hills, to Hawkesbury and down to Liverpool, so being isolated as ‘Parramatta’ doesn’t resonate with everybody. We also live in the shadow of the Eels [rugby league team], so this is a great opportunity to re-establish rugby as a sport and as a viable pathway to the elite levels.”