2021 South Sydney Annual Player Awards
7th October 2021
George Piggins FG Player Of The Year - Cody Walker
Cody Walker has capped off a stellar 2021 season by being presented with the George Piggins Medal as the Rabbitohs’ Best and Fairest player for the season. Walker has won the award for the second straight season, turning in some sublime performances which earned him comparisons to legendary players like Cliff Lyons due to his natural ability and dedication to his craft. Walker had his best season in the NRL since making his debut in 2016. In his 25 matches for South Sydney he scored 16 tries, set up another 33 tries and assisted with 46 line breaks. His running game tore opposition defences apart as was evidenced by his brilliant try in the 2021 NRL Grand Final where he beat four defenders to score under the posts in the first half. He ably filled in at fullback early in the season, but it was his devastating attack from five-eighth that sees him claim the Rabbitohs’ top award for season 2021. Walker also captained the Indigenous All Stars to kick off the 2021 season and finished third in the Dally M count at the end of the season, winning the Dally M Five-eighth of the Year award in the process. Walker becomes the fifth player to win multiple George Piggins Medals, joining Sam Burgess, John Sutton, Greg Inglis and Damien Cook as players who have won the award more than once. Walker was presented with the George Piggins Medal at today’s event on the Gold Coast by Rabbitohs Head Coach Wayne Bennett. Congratulations to Cody Walker on taking out the George Piggins Medal for the second consecutive year as the Club’s best and fairest player for the season.
Jack Rayner Players Player Of The Year - Cody Walker
Cody Walker has won his second consecutive Jack Rayner Players’ Player award presented at today’s George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast. Voted as the season’s best by his teammates for the second straight year. Walker proved to be the Rabbitohs’ most potent attacking weapon throughout 2021. He played 25 matches for South Sydney in 2021, scoring 16 tries, 33 try assists and 46 line break assists. His running game caused every defensive line immense problems, leading him to finish third in the Dally M count at season’s end. The Jack Rayner Players’ Player award is awarded to the winning following the collection of players’ player votes after each match of the season by Rabbitohs Head of Football, Mark Ellison. Walker received the Jack Rayner Players’ Player award from Assistant Coach Jason Demetriou at today’s event on the Gold Coast, which was presented by Rabbitohs Chairman Nicholas Pappas from Sydney. Congratulations to Cody Walker for winning the Jack Rayner Players’ Player award in 2021 for the second-straight season.
John Sattler Rookie Of The Year - Blake Taaffe
Young, livewire Rabbitoh Blake Taaffe has capped off an impressive first season in the NRL by winning the John Sattler Rookie of the Year award for 2021. Taaffe, who made his first grade debut against the Brisbane Broncos in round 15, went to play in eight matches throughout his first season in the top grade, including wearing the fullback jersey in the 2021 Grand Final. The La Perouse Panthers junior one tries and kicked six goals in his eight NRL games in his rookie season, also recording five try assists, six line break assists and an average of 111 running metres per game. Taaffe received the John Sattler Rookie of the Year award from Rabbitohs Assistant Coach Ben Hornby at the event on the Gold Coast, which was presented by the President of Souths Juniors, Keith McCraw, from Sydney. Congratulations to Blake Taaffe on being awarded the 2021 John Sattler Rookie of the Year accolade.
Roy Asotasi Members' Choice Award - Cameron Murray
Rabbitohs lock-forward Cameron Murray has won the Roy Asotasi Members’ Choice Award for season 2021 with the Rabbitohs faithful judging him as their best this season. Murray received almost 40% of the votes submitted by Rabbitohs Members in 2021. This is the second time Murray has won this award, first being awarded the honour in 2019. Murray was one of the Rabbitohs’ most consistent players throughout 2021, earning him selection in the victorious NSW Blues team for the 2021 State of Origin series. Murray played 20 games for the Rabbitohs in 2021, making 732 tackles at an efficiency rate of an astounding 96.8%. Playing both in the middle and on the edge during 2021, he averaged 122 running metres per game. However, it’s his defensive capabilities and perfect tackling technique that endears him to the Rabbitohs’ Members. A South Sydney junior from the Mascot Jets club, Murray is a Rabbitoh through-and-through, resulting in his selection as the Roy Asotasi Members’ Choice Award recipient for 2021. Murray received his award from former Rabbitohs Head Coach John Lang at the George Piggins Medal Presentation event held in Queensland this afternoon, which was presented by Member Co. Director Ray Martin from Sydney. Congratulations to Cameron Murray on his award on behalf of the Members of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and everyone connected to South Sydney.
Burrow Appreciation Award - Cody Walker
Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker has been recognised for his efforts throughout season 2021 by Rabbitohs supporters group, The Burrow, when he was awarded The Burrow Appreciation Award (NRL) at today’s George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast today. Walker, who was playing in his sixth season of NRL football in 2021, was regarded by many pundits as the best player in the NRL over the season just past. Walker sublime skills and stout defence made him a crowd favourite, with The Burrow also recognising his level of play throughout the entire 2021 campaign. Walker received the award from Head of Performance Jarrod Wade at the event in Queensland today, which was presented by Burrow Members Melissa Brunner and Michael Tasker from Sydney. Walker follows in the footsteps of current and former teammates Thomas Burgess, John Sutton, Damien Cook, Kyle Turner, Jason Clark, Adam Reynolds, Issac Luke and Sam Burgess in winning The Burrow’s top prize. Congratulations to Cody Walker on winning The Burrow Appreciation Award (NRL) for season 2021.
Bob McCarthy Clubman of The Year - Mark Nicholls
Rabbitohs frontrower Mark Nicholls has been presented with the Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award for season 2021 for his efforts of the Club both on and off the field. On field, Nicholls has had his best season to date. He was the only Rabbitohs player this season to play in all 27 matches, including the 2021 NRL Grand Final. He scored three tries, including a try-scoring double against the Roosters in round 24, doubling his career tally to six. He ran for 3073 metres this season with an average of 113 metres game including 1213 post-contact metres. He also made 605 tackles with an efficiency of 95.4%. Off the field, Nicholls is a much-loved teammate and has grown his cult following amongst the Rabbitohs faithful. Known as ‘The GOAT’ by teammates, Members and supporters alike, Nicholls is regarded as the glue in the squad around the dressing room and at training. He is also active outside of the training and playing time with the group, organising visits to feed the homeless with the Salvation Army and taking his teammates along with him. His now famous pre-game speech when he assumed the captaincy of the team in the final regular season game of 2021 was a source of joviality, camaraderie and inspiration for a young Rabbitohs outfit. He has the trust of his teammates to deliver each and every game and is a deserving winner of the Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award for 2021. Nicholls received his award from CEO Blake Solly at the George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast today, which was presented from Sydney by Rabbitohs legend Bob McCarthy. Congratulations to Mark Nicholls on receiving the 2021 Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award.
Reserve Grade(NSW Cup) - Player of the Year - Dean Hawkins
Rabbitohs halfback Dean Hawkins not only made his NRL debut in 2021, but he also took out the NSW Cup Player of the Year award as well. Hawkins, a South Sydney junior from the Matraville Tigers club, played eight games at the NSW Cup level in 2021, scoring 48 points to be the team’s leading points scorer for the season. Hawkins’ efforts in the NSW Cup saw him elevated to the NRL side to make his debut against the Brisbane Broncos in round five, one of three NRL matches he would play in 2021. Very much in the Adam Reynolds’ mold with a precise kicking game and strong defence, Hawkins takes out this year’s Player of the Year honours at the second grade level. Hawkins received his award in-person from Head Physiotherapist Eddie Farah at the George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast today, presented by NSW Cup Head Coach Steve Antonelli from Sydney. Congratulations to Dean Hawkins on his award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
Reserve Grade(NSW Cup) - Players Player of The Year - Trent Peoples
Hard working back rower Trent Peoples has won the Rabbitohs’ NSW Cup Players’ Player award which was announced on the Gold Coast today, celebrated at the George Piggins Medal Award Presentation event. Peoples, in his third season with South Sydney, played in 11 matches in 2021, scoring four tries and averaging over 30 tackles per game. His selfless approach to his football is not lost on his teammates who rewarded him for consistently strong performances throughout 2021 with this award. Peoples has played a total of 32 games for South Sydney at the NSW Cup level throughout 2019 and 2021, thoroughly deserving the praise of his teammates with this award. The award was presented to Trent by his NSW Cup Head Coach Steve Antonelli in Sydney with the presentation shown on the screens at the event in Queensland. Congratulations to Trent Peoples on his award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
U21s(Jersey Flegg Cup) - Player of the Year - Ben Lovett
Tough-as-nails Rabbitohs forward Ben Lovett has won the Jersey Flegg Player of the Year award in 2021 after a stellar season in the under 21s competition. Originally from Parkes in central west New South Wales, Lovett has followed his Rugby League dream to play at South Sydney for the past two COVID-affected seasons. Never taking a backwards step, Lovett played 11 games in the red and green in 2021, averaging 75 metres and 26 tackles per game in the back row, including three 100-plus metre matches. Lovett’s efforts have earned him a contract extension with the Club and a position in the Black Rabbitohs Elite Player Development Program, as well as a pre-season training stint with the NRL squad, in 2022. The award was presented by his 2021 Jersey Flegg coach Joe O’Callaghan in Sydney with the presentation broadcast into the George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast. Congratulations to Ben Lovett on his award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
U21s(Jersey Flegg Cup) - Players Player of The Year - Tallis Angianga
Rabbitohs under 21s player Tallis Angianga has been judged by his teammates as the season’s best player, taking out the Jersey Flegg Players’ Player award at the George Piggins Medal Presentation on the Gold Coast this afternoon. Angianga, who is in his third season with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2021, played seven of his 32 games this year. He is a hard running, strong defending player that has found his home on the wing in 2021. He never shirks the hard work when it’s needed, attributes that are valued by his teammates. He averaged 111 running metres and eight tackles per game in 2021, running for over 150 metres twice this year as well as averaging over three tackle breaks per match. He made his NSW Cup debut in 2021 and was a clear winner of the Players’ Player vote count at the end of the 12-game season. The Jersey Flegg Players’ Player award for 2021 was presented by Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg Head Coach Joe O’Callaghan at Rabbitohs HQ in Sydney which was beamed into the event being held on the Gold Coast. Congratulations to Tallis Angianga on his award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
Womens - Player of the Year - Seli Mailangi
Utility forward Seli Mailangi has taken out the Player of the Year Honours for the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership side in 2021. Mailangi, who is predominantly a hooker but plays in any position in the forwards, averaged 83 running metres and over 25 tackles per match throughout 2021, her first season playing with South Sydney. Mailangi was consistently one of the best performers each week in the pink and green, earning the captaincy on a number of occasions as well as the award as the player of the year. Seli, also known as Shirley, received her award from 2021 Women’s Head Coach Dean Widders at Rabbitohs HQ in Sydney with the presentation shown at the George Piggins Medal Presentation event being held on the Gold Coast in Queensland today. Congratulations to Seli Mailanga on her award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
Womens - Players Player of The Year - Katie Brown
Utility Katie Brown has been judged by her teammates as the season’s best player, being awarded the Rabbitohs’ Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Players’ Player for season 2021. Brown, who only took up playing Rugby League two years ago, played in many positions over the past two years but seems to be most comfortable playing in the centres. Wearing her trademark headgear, Brown’s fearless play was noticed and valued by her teammates, hence the awarding of the Players’ Player award for the season past. Brown played in 11 matches in her second season of Rugby League, averaging 47 running metres and ten tackles per game. Katie was presented with her award by 2021 Women’s Head Coach Dean Widders in Sydney with the presentation beamed into the George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast this afternoon. Congratulations to Katie Brown on her award on behalf of everyone connected to South Sydney and the Elite Pathways Program.
Womens - Burrow Appreciation Award - Rikka Lamb
Rabbitohs supporters group, The Burrow, have highlighted the performances of Women’s team captain Rikka Lamb throughout 2021 as the season’s best, naming her as The Burrow Appreciation Award (Women’s) award winner for the past season. Lamb has been a regular fixture of the women’s side since the team’s inaugural season 2018, playing right across the backline at different stages of her career. The Burrow, who attend as many of the women’s matches throughout the season as possible, have highlighted her versatility as well as her recognition of the support received from The Burrow. Lamb received the award from Head of Performance Jarrod Wade at the event in Queensland today, which was presented by Burrow Members Melissa Brunner and Michael Tasker from Sydney. Congratulations to Rikka Lamb on winning The Burrow Appreciation Award (Women’s) for season 2021.
Albert Clift Award - Sunny Brar
Rabbitohs Digital Content Manager Sunny Brar has been recognised for his efforts throughout the 2021 season by winning the Albert Clift Most Outstanding Contribution to the Club award for 2021. Brar leads the Rabbitohs’ digital content team which connects the Rabbitohs to their Members and supporters 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Brar has been ensconced within the Rabbitohs bubble for the past two seasons including travelling to Queensland to keep Rabbitohs supporters and Members everywhere connected to their team. Despite the significant impact life in the bubble has had on his personal and family life including his wife Amrit and young son Jahan, Brar’s enduring work ethic has meant the Rabbitohs lead Australian sport in its engagement with its supporters and its value to corporate partners. Sunny has taken on a mountain of work both inside and outside of his remit ensuring sponsors’ and corporate partners’ benefits are still delivered despite the displacement of the team to another state, helping Souths Cares create content to deliver their programs, assisting and running mainstream media sessions weekly throughout the season, helping players connect with their fans via social media, and chipping in with the day-to-day tasks required of the football department in the bubble. Sunny is leading the team that is delivering the Menulog Tales of Reinstatement documentary series in 2021, delivered the Menulog Team of the Decade video series in 2020, the Suttons South Sydney Top Moments competition, and the formation of the Rabbitohs Podcast Network this season. Rabbitohs’ digital content is widely regarded as the most engaging in Australian sport on social media, giving the South Sydney faithful a daily insight into the Club they love, and Brar’s efforts are the cornerstone to the Club’s success online. Brar was presented with his award by Chief Operating Officer Brock Schaefer at the George Piggins Medal Presentation event on the Gold Coast today. Congratulations to Sunny Brar on being awarded the Albert Clift award for the most outstanding contribution to the Club in 2021.
Souths Cares Award - Cody Walker
Rabbitohs player Cody Walker has been presented with the Souths Cares Award for 2021 due to his commitment to his work for the community and in Souths Cares’ programs. Awarded for the first time in a decade, the Souths Cares Award has been awarded this year to the Club’s Ken Stephen Medal nominee in Walker. Cody consistently works in and provides support for, many charitable organisations, particularly those dedicated to providing a better life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community. Cody is a regular contributor to Souths Cares’ programs, playing a leading role in the NAIDOC celebrations in July, the design of the Club’s Indigenous jersey alongside his uncle, Uncle Joe Walker, and young participants in Souths Cares’ programs, and was also the face of Souths Cares’ involvement in International Safer Internet day. He is also a leader in the Mental Health Awareness programs, is on the Club’s and Souths Cares’ Reconciliation Action Plan committee, supports Souths Cares’ Nanga Mai Marri program, Aboriginal Employment program, Deadly Youth Mentoring program and Wellbeing program. He also champions the Rising Warriors program workshops in his hometown of Casino, also raising money for the program by organising painted boots for the entire Rabbitohs squad in 2021 which were auctioned after the NRL’s Indigenous Round. Cody also attended events in Bombala on the NSW south coast following the devastating bushfires last year. He also regularly stands up and speaks up for the Indigenous community and leads the conversation on Aboriginal issues in Australia, trying to raise awareness for issues within the Indigenous community in Australia.
© 2021 SSR Almanac / HOME / RETURN