2016 Annual Player Awards
7th October 2016
George Piggins FG Player Of The Year - Sam Burgess
For the second time in his Rugby League career, Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess has been named Best and Fairest and awarded the 2016 George Piggins Medal. This is Sam’s second award for the night also winning the 2016 Jack Rayner Players’ Player Award. This will be Sam’s 11th Rabbitohs award. Sam becomes just the third player to have won the George Piggins Medal on multiple occasions, level with team mate Greg Inglis with two wins in 2013 and 2015, and behind team mate and back row partner John Sutton who has won the prestigious award on three occasions in 2009, 2012 and 2013. Sam had a stand out season in 2016, leading the Rabbitohs’ forward pack throughout the 26 rounds. Standing at 196cm tall and weighing in at 116kg, this year marked Sam’s sixth season in the cardinal and myrtle jersey. The dual-international debuted for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round one, 2010 against the Sydney Roosters. Since then, Sam has proven to be a crucial player in the South Sydney Rabbitohs side. Sam scored five tries in his 1664 minutes played in 2016, during his 23 games played. He recorded high statistics across the NRL, ranking in the top five in three categories notching up an impressive 399 runs, 49 offloads and 157 decoys. He also ranked highly across the board with 3531.6 all run metres and 1171 post contact metres. The Best and Fairest award at the Rabbitohs is named after Club legend, George Piggins. Piggins was not only a premiership-winning and international player, he was also a celebrated coach and official with the Club over a 40-year period. He was also one of the leading figures in the Club’s fight for re-instatement to the elite Rugby League competition in the early 2000s. Sam was presented the George Piggins Medal by Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire, and legends Michael Cleary and Bob McCarthy, at tonight’s (Friday’s) Red and Green Ball. Congratulations Sam on winning your second George Piggins Medal!
Jack Rayner Players Player Of The Year - Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess has been judged by his fellow team mates as the best player of season 2016, taking out the Jack Rayner Players’ Player Award in 2016, the fourth time in his career that he has won this prestigious award. During 23 appearances in his return to the code after a short switch to rugby union, Burgess tallied a total of 399 runs in the 2016 season which was recorded as the third highest across the NRL. He made the fifth highest amount of offloads totalling 49 for the season and topped the Rabbitohs’ statistics with an impressive 1170.6 post contact metres. The Players’ Player award is named after legendary Rabbitohs player and coach, Jack Rayner. Rayner won five Premierships with South Sydney in six seasons in the Club’s golden era between 1950 and 1955, as both Captain and Captain/Coach. His legacy at the Rabbitohs lives on to this day, remembered as an honest, tough, hardworking forward during the days when some of the most brutal Rugby League was played. Burgess was presented the award by Rabbitohs General Manager of Football, Shane Richardson alongside Paul Dunbavin and Brett Chaloner from the 2nd Commando Regiment on behalf of the Rayner family. Congratulations to Sam Burgess for claiming the fourth Jack Rayner Players’ Player Award of his career.
Bob McCarthy Clubman Of The Year - Jason Clark
Rabbitohs forward Jason Clark has taken out the 2016 Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year awarded at tonight’s (Friday’s) Red and Green Ball. Clark, who is one of six players in the Rabbitohs Leadership Group, plays in integral within the playing the group, the broader Club and the Membership base, bringing everyone together as one Club throughout the year. Clark, a South Sydney junior from the Coogee-Randwick Wombats club, appeared in 23 games in 2016. During his 861 minutes of play, Clark made 12 offloads, 483 post contact metres and 603 tackles. But it’s his commitment to the Club and the time he for the Members and fans that has seen him awarded the Clubman of the Year title. Clark will continue in the red and green until at least the end of the 2018 season. The Clubman of the Year award is named after one of the Rabbitohs’ greatest players of all time, Bob McCarthy. McCarthy was part of the Rabbitohs’ golden era in the 1960s and early 1970s, playing 211 first grade games in the cardinal and myrtle. He is a multiple premiership-winning legend of the Club. Jason Clark was presented the award by the man himself, Bob McCarthy at tonight’s awards ceremony. Congratulations to Jason Clark on being named the 2016 Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year.
John Sattler Rookie Of The Year - Cody Walker
Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has been awarded the 2016 John Sattler Rookie of the Year that has topped off what will be a memorable debut year for Walker. The award is Walker’s third of the night as he also took home the Roy Asotasi Members’ Choice Award and the Tooheys New Fan Player of the Year Award, presented at tonight’s (Friday’s) Red and Green Ball. Walker earned his spot in the Rabbitohs’ starting side with his fantastic performances throughout his debut year, mainly at five-eighth and fullback. Walker scored eight tries and assisted with 12. He made 225 runs covering 2022 metres in 20 games. Walker has been described as ‘a natural footballer’ by his teammate Greg Inglis and was recognised across the NRL, named as the RLPA Rookie of the Year. Walker has signed with the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2018 season and will continue to aim to make an impact in the cardinal and myrtle. The Rookie of the Year award is named after one of South Sydney’s most inspirational players of all time in the form of the legendary John Sattler. Sattler captained the Rabbitohs to four Premiership victories in five years from 1967 to 1971, including the famous 1970 Grand Final in which he played for 77 minutes of the game with a jaw broken in three places. Walker was presented his award by Football Club and Member Co. Director, Nik Hatzistergos. Congratulations to Cody on winning the John Sattler Rookie of the Year.
Roy Asotasi Members' Choice Award - Cody Walker
Cody Walker has been voted by Rabbitohs Members as the 2016 Roy Asotasi Members’ Choice Award winner at tonight’s Red & Green Ball. The award is the second of the night for Walker, who earlier picked up the Tooheys New Fan Player of the Year Award. Members regarded Walker as having been South Sydney’s best throughout the 2016 season in an online poll that ran until late September. Players who played ten or more first grade games throughout the regular NRL season were eligible for the award. Roy Asotasi was an integral member of the Rabbitohs’ playing group and the Club, both as a captain and as a damaging front-row forward after arriving at Redfern in 2007. Regarded by many as one of the first marquee signings of the Rabbitohs’ new era, Asotasi brought with him a wealth of experience as a leader, a seasoned campaigner and a premiership winner, helping to create an exciting culture at the Rabbitohs built on his own unique brand of hard work, coupled with an unrivalled level of professionalism. Walker was presented the Award by the man himself, Roy Asotasi. Congratulations to Cody Walker on being the Members’ Choice for 2016.
Burrow Appreciation Award - Kyle Turner
Rabbitohs supporter group, The Burrow, have recognised the efforts of South Sydney forward Kyle Turner by awarding him with The Burrow Appreciation Award for 2016 at tonight’s Red and Green Ball. Turner played 23 games in 2016, clocking up 1540 run metres over 169 runs. He played 1279 minutes and in that time gained 522 post contact metres, scored three tries and assisted in two, and made the third highest number of tackles for the Rabbitohs at 691 tackles. Congratulations to Turner who was awarded The Burrow Appreciation Award by Rabbitohs Member, Scott Mitten.
Toohey News Fan Player of The Year - Cody Walker
Rabbitohs five-eighth, Cody Walker, has been judged by supporters as the 2016 Tooheys New Fan Player of the Year. Walker made his NRL debut with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round one, 2016 against the Sydney Roosters. At 26 years old, the versatile player made an impact in Souths attack taking on a number roles in the backline including five-eighth, halfback, fullback and wing. Walker had an outstanding performance in 2016 scoring eight tries in his debut year. He clocked up the highest of the Rabbitohs statistics in 12 try assists, 15 line breaks and 80 tackle breaks. On top of this, he made 2022 run metres over 225 runs and 1635 kick metres through 73 kicks. He also finished third overall in the NRL alongside Aaron Gray for one-on-one steals. Walker was named the Rugby League Player Association’s Rookie of the Year at their presentation night in September. The Tooheys New Fan Player of the Year is the culmination of a season-long online voting process that allows Members and supporters to vote for their Tooheys New Player of the Month. Walker was presented with his award by Rabbitohs CEO, Blake Solly. Congratulations to Cody Walker on being named the 2016 Tooheys New Fan Player of the Year.
NYC Cup - Best and Fairest - Maia Sands
The 2017 NYC Best and Fairest Award has been won by Rabbitohs Under 20s hooker, Maia Sands. The award is the second of the night for Sands, who earlier picked up the NYC Players’ Player Award. Sands made 119 runs in the 2016 season, covering 1073 metres. The explosive hooker, received the ball 1695 times, the sixth highest across the competition and proved to be a threat on the opposition’s line, scoring all of his six tries from dummy half. He also made the third highest amount of tackles with an impressive 903 successful attempts. Sands was presented with the NYC Best and Fairest Award by Rabbitohs Welfare and Education Manager, Rob Capizzi. Congratulations Maia on receiving the two NYC awards.
NYC Cup - Players Player of The Year - Maia Sands
Rabbitohs Holden Cup player, Maia Sands, has been voted by his teammates as this year’s NYC Players’ Player. Sands receives the award after a fantastic 2016 season representing the Rabbitohs in all 24 games. He played a total of 1631 minutes scoring ten tries and assisting in five. Sands recorded 33 tackle breaks and broke through the opposition’s defensive line on ten occasions. Players’ Player votes are collected after each game and tallied at the end of the season, with Sands taking the top honour for season 2016. Sands was presented with the NYC Players’ Player Award by Rabbitohs Welfare and Education Manager, Rob Capizzi. Congratulations Maia!
Player Milestones Honored
A number of players were honored for achieving key milestones in their playing career. John Sutton in playing his 250th first grade match all with South Sydney. Sam Burgess and Adam reynolds for playing this 100th first grade match all with South Sydney.
Bears NSW Cup - Player of The Year - Brad Dietz
Co-Captain, Brad Deitz took out the Best and Fairest award while Clayton Williams received the highest votes from his teammates to be honoured with the Players Player award. “Brad came to us as an U20s player from 2015 and played 22 games, which is every game this year,” commented Gardiner. “He started at hooker which is a big step up from U20s for him and everything he did rose in class on a week to week basis.” “Clayton Williams also came from Souths U20s and played 22 games at lock.” “He stepped up and performed exceptionally well for a fella that isn’t that big in the middle and will be looking for bigger and better things for 2017.” Halfback, Eli Levido had an outstanding season, claiming the most try assists and line breaks in the competition and was acknowledged by receiving two awards including the Best Back and Fans Player of the Year. “He was the sixth highest points scorer in the NSW cup which is a fantastic achievement for a rookie, “Eli played 20 games this season, and topped try assists and line break assists in the competition and really led the team around the field obviously being a halfback. “He has re-signed for next year and we look to continue that pathway to bigger and better things in 2017.”
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