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Hooper wins Australian player of the year award

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Waratahs Super Rugby Captain and Wallabies vice-captain, Michael Hooper has won the 2016 John Eales Medal, as presented at Australian rugby’s annual awards ceremony.

Hooper had a difficult start to the season and former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer named him as the worst flanker in Australia but he has recovered his form and has now been voted Australia’s best player.

This is the second time that Hooper has won the award after first claiming the title back in 2013. He follows in the footsteps of teammate, Israel Folau (2014, 2015), George Smith (2002, 2008) and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012) who have all won rugby’s most prestigious award twice.

Hooper was the clear leader of the ‘player’s player’ 3-2-1 votes tally, amassing 296 points during the designated period from the pre-World Cup USA Test on 5 September 2015 to the final Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand on 22 October 2016. Bernard Foley came third in the tally count ahead of Israel Folau who received the fifth highest amount of votes from his Wallaby teammates.

Hooper’s standout season for the Wallabies saw the 24-year-old score four times for his country in 2016 and named Australia’s Man of the Match in three out of the six domestic Tests this year.

Born and bred on Sydney’s northern beaches, Hooper also scooped up the award for Australia’s Choice Wallaby of the Year for the fourth year in a row, an incredible feat considering it is just his fifth year playing for the Wallabies.

The two accolades come after the former Manly Marlins representative was named the 2016 Matthew Burke Cup Players’ Player for the fourth consecutive year, as voted by his NSW Waratahs teammates. He also won the highest amount of votes from NSW Waratahs members to take home the 2016 Member’s Choice for the second year in a row.

Recent NSW Waratahs recruit and 2016 Shute Shield Rookie of the Year, Irae Simone was announced as The Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Player of the Year following a standout season with tournament semi-finalists, the Sydney Rays.

NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Daryl Gibson said the awards reflected both the talented leadership and new, exciting players in the Tahs for 2017.

“Michael’s ongoing consistency and ability on the field, both as a leader and a player, are remarkable. And that is reflected in the sheer volume of accolades he has received from his own teammates and supporters in NSW and nationally over his career.

“His work rate makes him a truly dependable role model within the team that continues to help us build together with the new leaders stepping up in 2017.

“Irae’s acknowledgement as the Buildcorp NRC Player of the Year is a shining example of the type of new talent we have going in to 2017. I was pleased to see a number of NSW players showcase their abilities throughout the tournament. With a lot of those players coming together in our squad next year, it makes next season very exciting for us as a team.”

The Women’s XVs Player of the Year went to Wallaroos Captain, Ashleigh Hewson. A member of the Sydney University Club, Hewson has represented Australia at the 2010 and 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cups. The talented flyhalf has also captained Sydney to back-to-back National Championships, scoring an incredible 45 points for her team.

Captain of the  Men’s Sevens Team and Australia’s most-capped Sevens player, Ed Jenkins was named Men’s Sevens Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Born and bred in NSW, Jenkins was once again recognised for his valuable contribution during the team’s best World Series season in four years.

The Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year went to Kylie Dawson for her work with Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School Rugby in Tamworth and NSW Central Norths Rugby.

Dawson has coached young rugby players at the agricultural school for eight years and manages the Central North Under 17s boys seven a side representative outfit. She was nominated by parents for her hours of work and talent as a coach.

NSW winners at the 2016 John Eales Medal Awards
John Eales Medal: Michael Hooper
Australia’s Choice –  Wallaby of the Year: Michael Hooper
Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Player of the Year: Irae Simone, Sydney Rays
Women’s XVs Player of the Year: Ashleigh Hewson
Shawn Mackay Award Men’s Sevens Player of the Year: Ed Jenkins
Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year: Kylie Dawson, Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School Rugby, Tamworth, NSW and NSW Central Norths Rugby.

 

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