TOP PLAYER: Gatton's Alex Edwards received the Best and Fairest award for the premier men division in the Toowoomba Football League.
TOP PLAYER: Gatton's Alex Edwards received the Best and Fairest award for the premier men division in the Toowoomba Football League. David Lobwein

Gatton Redbacks striker named Best and Fairest

FOOTBALL: Facing an undefeated Willowburn side at the end of July, the Gatton Redbacks needed some inspiration to keep their season alive.

It would come in the form of striker Alex Edwards.

He went on to score a hat-trick, including a spectacular free kick in the dying minutes, to lead his side to a 3-2 victory.

That game was the biggest highlight in a season full of them for the 24-year-old, who missed chunks of the season through illness, witnessed the birth of his son and still scored 16 goals in 16 league games.

At the end of August he won the Best and Fairest award for the premier men division in the Toowoomba Football League at the Football Queensland South-West gala presentation evening.

"I was really, really, really proud that my hard work got acknowledged ... but that was a total shocker,” Edwards said.

"This was probably my career-high season.”

For half an hour after training sessions he worked with coach and father Jon on his shooting technique, perfecting his ability to hit the corners of the goal with power and consistency.

His commitment to improving his game resulted in a bonanza of goals, including three against eventual premiers Willowburn.

"It didn't feel real - like did that actually happen,” he laughed.

"It's the best feeling that I've had playing football, especially seeing the boys' faces and seeing how joyful they were (after the winner).”

Edwards, who played in the US for two years after securing a scholarship to the AIB College of Business in Iowa, will now look to make the step up.

He is set to trial for the South West Queensland Thunder for the 2018 season.

It will provide a chance to play alongside brother Nick again, who himself made the switch from the Redbacks for the 2017 season.

"I kind of thought that I'm ready now to take it up another notch and really test myself and see how I can go, while I've still got age on my side,” Edwards said.

"That will be fun linking up with him again.”