2020 Annual Player Awards

30th October 2020

George Piggins FG Player Of The Year - Cody Walker

Rabbitohs livewire five-eighth Cody Walker has been awarded the George Piggins Medal for 2020, capping off a break-out season which sees him crowned the Best and Fairest player for the first time in his career. In his 21 appearances for South Sydney this season, Walker scored 10 tries, had 21 try assists and took his running game to another level registering 17 linebreaks and a staggering 66 tackle breaks for the year. Walker averaged 101 metres with the ball and really came alive particularly in Indigenous round against the Dragons and then in the last regular season match against the Roosters. On those occasions, both times he ran for over 150 metres. Walker put the team on his back out at Kogarah against the Dragons after Adam Reynolds was forced to the sideline with injury. We all knew how much of an attacking threat Cody is but, he certainly has matured into a genuine game manager in 2020; often coming up with the right play when called upon. Walker registered arguable the best individual performance of the season against our rivals the Roosters in round 20. In that game he scored two tries, had three try assists, made one linebreak and assisted another. It was through his consistency all year and that purple patch of form in the back-end of the year that saw him re-called into the NSW Blues extended squad at season’s end.

Jack Rayner Players Player Of The Year - Cody Walker

Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has been voted by his teammates as the player they felt had the biggest impact on the field, by being awarded the Jack Rayner Players' Player Award for 2020. There is no higher honour in rugby league than having your teammates want you standing in the line next to them, Cody Walker has been labelled the ultimate competitor and in my many instances, the ultimate game-changer. Walker had 21 appearances scoring 10 tries - including a brilliant long-range effort against Parramatta in that 38-0 drumming. Walker also bagged a couple of doubles against the Dragons in round 12 and the Roosters in round 20 to help steer the Rabbitohs to victory. Walker’s brilliant performances saw him selected for the NSW Blues extended squad at season’s end. In the back-end of the year, Walker was arguably the best player in the competition, re-capturing similar form to his scintillating run in the first couple of months of the 2019 season. One of the game’s most instinctive players known for his ‘eyes up footy,’ Walker suited the speed of the game really well after the new rules were implemented in round three. With the set-restarts ability to fatigue defenders and encourage less-structured attacking raids, Walker flourished.

John Sattler Rookie Of The Year - Keaon Kolomatangi

South Sydney Junior and now Top Grade young gun Keaon Koloamatangi has been awarded the John Sattler Rookie of the Year for 2020 after a fantastic start to his NRL career. As a quick-tempo, explosive forward with experience on the edge and in the middle, we always knew Koloamatangi would be pushing for first grade honours after bursting onto the scene in the Charity Shield at Mudgee, slicing through for a try of his own! Keaon made 14 first grade appearances in 2020, averaging 108 metres with the ball from only nine carries per game! Koloamatangi stepped up when called upon, providing spark in the middle of the field which helped ignite Damien Cook out of dummy half especially in those crucial periods either side of half time. He came up with a couple of big plays in 2020 including the strong carry and offload which got Reynolds in the right field position to slot the game-winning field goal, defeating the North Queensland Cowboys 31-30 in round 14. A proud product of the Mascot Juniors football Club, Koloamatangi spent his entire Juniors in the same side as Cameron Murray rising up through all of the Rabbitohs representative ranks together. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Keaon on being named the John Sattler Rookie of the Year for 2020.

Roy Asotasi Members' Choice Award - Adam Reynolds

Rabbitohs crowd favourite Adam Reynolds has been awarded the Roy Asotasi Members' Choice Award for 2020 by the 30,000 plus Members of the South Sydney Football Club. In his first year as the Captain of the Club, Reynolds led his side to their third consecutive Preliminary Final before bowing out to Minor Premiers, Penrith Panthers. A Souths Junior who grew up just across the road from Redfern Oval, Reynolds brought up his 200th game for the Club - becoming only the sixth Rabbitoh to reach this milestone in their 112th-year history. Reynolds finished the year with 23 appearances for South Sydney, scoring 6 tries, forcing 20 line drop-outs and was also the Illustrious leading-point scorer for the NRL. Who could also forget that match-winning field goal against the Cowboys or when he kicked six from six sideline conversions against the Sea Eagles. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Adam on his accolade.

Burrow Appreciation Award - Tom Burgess

Rabbitohs enforcer Thomas Burgess has been awarded the Burrow Appreciation Award for 2020. In a career-best season Burgess led the pack; taking the younger forwards under his wing as he developed into a senior leader following the departure of his brothers. Burgess finished the year with 23 appearances for South Sydney, scoring 2 tries, breaking 31 tackles and averaging 27 tackles and 146 metres per game. His partnership with Junior Tatola set the tone and laid the platform, allowing the Rabbitohs to march up-field, putting them in positions to work their backline plays. Rabbitohs Chairman Nicholas Pappas was on hand to present Burgess with the Burrow Appreciation Award. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Thomas on his award.

Bob McCarthy Clubman of The Year - Damien Cook

Rabbitohs hooker and fan favourite Damien Cook has been awarded the Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award for the 2020 season. 2020 was a career-defining season for Cook especially upon season’s ‘Bubble’ resumption when the rules were changed in order to benefit dummy-half runners and attacking livewires. While it took some time, Damien Cook flourished to the ‘set restart’ rules, especially in the big games as he registered plenty of metres out of dummy half as well as a couple of long-range tries. Cook played 22 games, forced nine drop-outs, assisted eight tries, ran for 97 metresper game and put teammates through for seven linebreaks over the season. His biggest moment would have to be that blistering try against Parramatta in the must-win Semi Final which sealed their spot in the Preliminary Final. Cook, in broken play, burnt a couple of slow-retreating forwards, then the outside backs before doing King Gutho with a brilliant right-foot step. While it has been difficult during the conditions of the Bubble, away from the field you would usually see Cook out at various Members events, at hospital visits or giving back to those who are doing it a bit tough, just to try and put a smile on their faces. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Damien on his award.

Womens - Player of the Year - Ellie Johnston

After making the switch from Rugby Union to League in 2019, Ellie Johnston was a stand-out in her first season for the Rabbitohs. A country girl who made the move to the big smoke Ellie Johnston led the pack at both prop and later on at Lock, showing her subtle touch and versatility with her ball-playing skills. Johnston was damaging particular in attack, often carrying three or four defenders on her back. One to not shy away from contact, she was always a threat 10 metres out from the opposition try line. Awarded the Womens' Player of the Year for 2020, Ellie was also rewarded for a stellar season and made her debut in the NRLW this year, starting up front for the St George Illawarra Dragons. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Ellie on her achievement.

Womens - Players Player of The Year - Janaya Bent

Rabbitohs Womens Hooker Janaya Bent has been awarded the Womens’ Players’ Player award for 2020 after a stellar debut season with the Club. Janaya and older sister Shaylee joined the Club in July after being recruited by cousin and close friend Taleena Simon. Janaya was extremely consistent in the middle, showing venom in her defence and picking the right times to run after bagging a couple of crucial tries during the season. It is a tremendous effort from Janaya to be recognised by her teammates as somebody they respect and love playing with. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Janaya for her efforts.

Womens - Burrow Appreciation Award - Emma Dennison

Emma Dennison has been with the Rabbitohs since the very beginning and has continued to develop into a true leader of the Club. Shifting from Centre to Wing, Dennison continued to Captain from the flank. Riddled with injury during the season, Dennison continued to help guide and develop the younger players coming through; providing more of a mentoring role when she could not take the field herself. Described as someone who always gave it her all, Dennison is never one to shy away from a challenge and always played above her weight. The South Sydney Rabbitohs would like to congratulate Emma on her accolade.

Albert Clift Award - Brian Stow

The Albert Clift Award celebrates the outstanding contribution to the Club by those behind the scenes; the people working tirelessly day-in-day-out to ensure our players can come into a professional environment and focus purely on playing the game to the best of their ability. During the disruptions and unprecedented times of COVID-19, Brian Stow (Football Operations Officer) not only sacrificed a part of his life to commit to the Player’s Bubble, but also led the officiating to ensure the Club was abiding by the strict Protocols in play. Brian dedicated himself to ensure all operations within the Bubble were conducted seamlessly from tasks such as getting up at the crack-of-dawn in order to set up all testing stations, setting up change rooms on game day and staying back into the early hours of the morning to pack down after a match. Not only did Brian give up so much of his time to the Club, but he had to liaise with a range of sectors including NRL Officials and local government. For example with Metricon High Performance Centre Redfern being a council park, he would often have to liaise with council regarding when to open the field to the public and when to close it off for player’s training. "Obviously the situation was new to everybody and under such trying circumstances Brian came in with such a selfless attitude," said Head of Football Mark Ellison. "He went above and beyond as expected before COVID, but also stepped up at the re-commencement of the season. Not only did Brian do a fantastic job at presenting information to players and staff but he also kept everybody’s spirits up." The is the first time it has been awarded since 2011 and is named after Albert Clift who was a gigantic figure in this Club’s history. Born on 21 March 1904, Mr Clift was a former player for South Sydney, former official and director and was the Club’s first mascot back in 1968. We would like to congratulate Brian on his efforts this season.

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