Nirranda export Brody Couch's brilliant debut season in the Big Bash League for the Melbourne Stars has been rewarded with the Australia BBL Rookie of the Year.
The 22-year-old pace bowler enjoyed an impressive BBL season, snaring 16 wickets at an economy rate of eight and an average of 22 to finish as the Stars' leading wicket-taker.
Couch didn't miss a game this BBL season, headlining his consistency, playing all 14 games for the Stars to be one of the side's most impressive performers.
The right-armer also made his Sheffield Shield debut against New South Wales earlier this season and has three List A matches next to his name for Victoria, and is seen as one of the brightest prospects in the country.
Couch plays his club cricket with Geelong in the Victorian Premier Cricket competition, and played his entire junior career at Nirranda where he is a favourite son.
"It is really nice, firstly to get the opportunity to play in the Big Bash this year with the Stars was pleasing, and to get an opportunity to contribute to team success was the main thing," he told The Standard.
"You definitely don't play for awards like this, but it's great to get the recognition."
Couch said the Big Bash season was a memorable experience and one that allowed him to bump shoulders with some of the country's best and learn.
"It took a few games to feel comfortable being such a new experience and playing against the best Twenty20 players in the country," he said.
"Having the senior guys out there definitely kept me at ease, and as I got into the tournament and kept getting a game I felt more comfortable out there.
"I was able to then execute and play my role."
Couch said to come from the small community of Nirranda and live out his dream was something he wasn't taking for granted.
"As a young kid, I wanted to play in the Big Bash, and when summer rolled around it was on the TV every night," he said.
"Coming from a country club, there's so many volunteers, and people that put their hands up to try and get the most out of the kids, so I think it's a great reward for all the work they've done.
"To get to where I am, it's not just about my personal endeavours, it reflects a lot of the hard work done by so many at the club."
Nirranda president Dion Jansz said the club was extremely proud of Couch.
"It means a lot as a club, we're so proud of what he's achieved in his career so far," he said.
"He started his grassroots cricket here, and it puts Nirranda on the map I reckon.
"It just shows how even a small spot, little one-horse place like Nirranda can deliver a cricketer of this type of calibre."
Jansz said Couch is not only a top-quality cricketer who will continue to get better, but a wonderful person who enjoyed his upbringing at the club and on the farm.
"He's just such a humble kid, and his upbringing with his parents Corey (life member of Nirranda) and Karin on the farm, he's got that humbleness to him," he said.
"Those types of qualities make people instantly drawn to you, and that's the case with Brody.
"I've known Brody since he was only a couple of years old, and I do bump into him from time to time which is great.
"He's just a quality person."
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