Twenty year-old Kleier went 46-for-80 in 2018 and finished the season with a solid 57.5 per cent ride percentage. The Townsville crowd erupting in support of the young charge who took home $15,000 in prizemoney.
He was one of 18 of Australia’s top riders, as well as four key internationals that competed across the weekend, with eight riders ultimately progressing through to the final and deciding round of competition.
Lane, 19, went into the grand finals trailing several other rookie contenders, but a clutch fourth place finish in Townsville saw him leapfrog his rivals to steal the title in the closing event of the 2018 season.
In his acceptance speech, Mellers acknowledged that the Rookie of the Year title had come as a surprise.