Seven Queenslanders have been recognised at the 2019 Rugby Australia Awards held in Sydney tonight.
Junior Wallabies captain, Fraser McReight secured back-to-back Player of the Year awards with the prodigious Queensland flanker earning recognition for his herculean performances at the World Rugby U20 Championships in Argentina, where his side fell agonisingly short in the Final against France.
Two future stars shared the stage for the Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year as Queensland duo Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Jordan Petaia were both rewarded for their breakout years.
Lefau-Fakaosilea and Petaia have both been long earmarked for the big stage and didn’t disappoint during their maiden campaigns with the Buildcorp Wallaroos and Qantas Wallabies respectively.
It was a night of celebration for the Qantas Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens sides with both teams having booked their place at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, as Bond University star Charlotte Caslick was named Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.
Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Life Member and Souths club stalwart Peter ‘Doubles’ Daley was recognised with the Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award following decades of service to Rugby in Queensland and across Australia.
This was highlighted in 2019, as ‘Doubles’ encouraged the QRU to award two ‘Spirit of Rugby’ medals (one for each team) during every AIC First XV schoolboy game this season.
Former Reds scrumhalf turned match official Nic Berry was crowned the Roger Vanderfield TNT Referee of the Year, while Vaasa Afa from Easts Rugby Club in Brisbane earned the Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award.
Following a standout Super Rugby season, 2019 Pilecki Medal winner Samu Kerevi was awarded the Vodafone Super Rugby Player of the Year.
Marika Koroibete capped-off an outstanding 2019 season by claiming the John Eales Medal, as Australian captain Grace Hamilton took home the Buildcorp Wallaroos Player of the Year award.
In addition, legendary Australian halves pairing George Gregan and Stephen Larkham were both inducted into the Wallabies Hall of Fame.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle congratulated all those recognised: “On behalf of Rugby Australia I congratulate all of our award winners for their tremendous contribution to the game in 2019.
“The Rugby Australia Awards is a night to celebrate everyone in our great game from the volunteers who run the game at the community level right through to the players, coaches and match officials representing the country on the international stage.
“Once again this year there were some outstanding highlights and achievements across the sport and tonight was a great opportunity to recognise some special individuals that delivered above and beyond throughout 2019,” said Castle.