Wade Graham was named in The Players 13 Dream Team, James Maloney the Dennis Tutty Award winner and Billy Magoulias the NYC Academic Player of the Year at the annual Rugby League Players Association Awards Night.
The RLPA Awards began in 2004 to recognise excellence both on and off the field and are presented annually in a range of categories, with the prestigious RLPA Players’ Champion mantle awarded to the most outstanding Player of the year as voted by his NRL peers.
Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco was chosen as the 2017 RLPA Players Champion. Previous winners of the major award have included Jason Taumalolo in 2016, Johnathan Thurston who was a three-time Player’s Champion from 2013 to 2015 and Ben Barba in 2012.
As for the Sharks, in addition to Graham, Maloney and Magoulias, Chad Townsend was selected in the NRL Academic Team of the Year, while Chris Heighington, Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen joined Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman as inductees into the ‘300 Club’.
While Graham’s selection in the Players’ Dream Team was significant, the Dennis Tutty Award is one of the most prestigious, awarded to Sharks star and RLPA Director Maloney last night in recognising an individual who has made a significant contribution as an advocate for advancing the interests of players throughout the year.
THE PLAYERS’ CHAMPION 2017 AWARD WINNERS:
The Players’ Champion – James Tedesco (Wests Tigers)
The Players’ 13 Dream Team: James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast Titans), Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights), David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), Gareth Widdop (St. George Illawarra), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers), Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm), David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), Wade Graham (Cronulla-Sutherland), Sam Burgess (South Sydney)
Harvey Norman Rookie of the Year – Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders)
Harvey Norman Dennis Tutty Award – James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks)
One Solutions Australian Representative Player – Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm/Australia/Queensland)
Phone A Flight New Zealand Representative Player – Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland)
One Solutions Rest of the World Representative Player – Josh Hodgson (England)
Harvey Norman Australian Representative Women’s Player of the Year – Simaima Taufa (Australian Jillaroos)
Phone A Flight New Zealand Representative Women’s Player of the Year – Sarina Fiso (New Zealand Kiwi Ferns)
Harvey Norman NYC Player of the Year – Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
Origin Greats Inductee – Brett Morris
The ‘300 Club’ – Cooper Cronk, Chris Heighington, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen, Ryan Hoffman
Shadforth Financial Group RLPA / NRL Wellbeing and Education Awards:
Indigenous Leadership & Excellence – Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
Pasifika Leadership & Excellence – Adam Blair (Brisbane Broncos)
NRL Academic Player of the Year – Tim Mannah (Parramatta Eels)
NYC Academic Player of the Year – Billy Magoulias (Cronulla Sharks)
NRL Academic Team of the Year: Tom Opacic (Brisbane), Chad Townsend (Sharks), Damien Cook (Rabbitohs), Jacob Host (Dragons), John Asiata (Cowboys), Christian Welch (Storm), Anthony Don (Titans), Tim Mannah (Eels), Jamie Buhrer (Knights), Ava Seumanufagai (Wests Tigers), Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), Luke Keary (Roosters), Michael Lichaa (Bulldogs)
NYC Academic Team of the Year: Billy Magoulias (Sharks), Blake Manowski (Rabbitohs), Dane Aukafolau (Eels), Eiden Ackland (Warriors), Harry Grant (Storm), Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu (Roosters), Joseph Tramontana (Bulldogs), Liam Martin (Panthers), Mitchell Dunn (Cowboys), Patrick Carringan (Broncos), Royce Tout (Wests Tigers), Stuart Mason (Dragons), Tyrone Roberts-Davis (Titans)