In a first for the Cronulla Sharks Club two players have shared the main award at the 2016 Presentation Night.
Front rowers Matt Prior and Andrew Fifita, players with vastly different styles but who were both integral to the Sharks premiership success this season, have been declared joint winners of the Monty Porter Medal and Pontifex Player of the Year Award.
In his best season in Sharks colours and perhaps his most outstanding so far in a nine-year NRL career, Prior was a tower of strength in the middle of the field, his bruising defence and strong charges with the football making him an extremely worthy recipient of the prestigious honour.
As for his fellow front rower Fifita, the barnstorming prop elevated his game to new levels this year, with his match-winning try in the Grand Final capping off a season in which he played all three Origin matches for NSW and helped to steer the Sharks to their maiden NRL title.
On a night conducted at Sharks Leagues Club with a crowd of almost 500 in attendance, Ben Barba also accepted two significant awards, the Players Player for 2016 and the Members Player of the Year, while Queenslander Kurt Capewell was named Rookie of the Year.
In the NYC, Jayden Brailey, the NRL’s Holden Cup Player of the Year, added the Sharks Under-20’s Player of the Year accolade to his impressive resume, with Jayden McDonough the NYC Players Player.
Other awards on the night included the Club Person of the Year (Shane Smith), the Sharks Support Community Award (Paul Gallen) and Education Excellence awards (NRL to Chad Townsend, NYC Jayden Brailey).
The Tackle of the Year went to Luke Lewis for his bellringer on Matt Moylan at Southern Cross Group Stadium back in round 18, with Fifita’s Grand Final four-pointer a standout as Sharks Try of the Year.
See below for a full list of 2016 Sharks Presentation Night award winners, along with the Sharks contracted players who collected awards at the Newtown Jets Annual presentation event.
2016 Sharks Award Winners
Monty Porter Medal and Pontifex Player of the Year
Matt Prior and Andrew Fifita
Tommy Bishop NRL Players Player Award
Steve Rogers Rookie of the Year
Members Player of the Year
Andrew Ettingshausen Club Person of the Year
Gavin Miller NYC Player of the Year
Greg Pierce NYC Greg Pierce Players Player
Sharks Support Community Award
Wellbeing and Education Excellence Award
NRL – Chad Townsend
NYC – Jayden Brailey
Tackle of the Year
Luke Lewis – Round 18 v Panthers
Try of the Year
Andrew Fifita – Grand Final v Storm
Iron Man Awards ((Players who played every game in 2016)
NRL – Ben Barba
- Chad Townsend
- Wade Graham
NYC – Jayden Brailey
- Lachlan Stein
- Ash Nisbet
- Tepa Fuiavailili
Newtown Jets Awards
Brian ‘Chicka’ Moore Shield (Best and Fairest) – Kurt Capewell
Best Back – Josh Cleeland
Coach’s Award – Anthony Moraitis
Fred Daly Memorial Shield (for the player who has contributed most to the club on an off the field) - Matt McIlwrick.