Outgoing president awarded Spirit of the All Blacks award

By Meg Saultry

In an award that needed to be kept under wraps due to its recipient, Benalla All Blacks president Chris McNair’s work at the club was recognised with the Spirit of the All Blacks award at Saturday’s presentation night.

McNair said it felt humbling to receive the award, which came about in the past two seasons to recognise more of the values and the bigger picture that the All Blacks hold close to their hearts.

“You don’t expect it as president, you’re someone in the background who provides support to everyone else,” McNair said.

The recognition came at a bittersweet moment with McNair set to step aside from the top role this year, with the full-time nature of the job taking a toll on his work-life balance.

Proud president: Chris McNair (right) after the All Blacks' senior football and netball teams took out the White Ribbon Cup this season.

But he said he would leave the position confident the All Blacks were on the right track. 

All Blacks end season on a high, as both Benalla and Goorambat look to 2020

“I had ideas of making it more family inclusive,” he said.

“And in the country leagues, there is a big emphasis on major leagues rather than the minor ones.

“I wanted to build a club that was continuing to move forward.”

With Nick Spencer set to take over the coaching reigns of the senior team, McNair was confident the team being put into place behind the scenes to support all the leaders at the club would be the right group to take the club forward.

“It puts us in good stead to move forward, and hopefully we’ll win some premierships in the next few years,” McNair said.

But don’t expect to see McNair disappearing into the wind, with the long-time clubman confirming he would be around the club next season as he cheers, and potentially lines up for a few games with his beloved All Blacks.