Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues captain James Tedesco, Dally M favourite Tom Trbojevic and in-form halfback Nathan Cleary head a star-studded list of True Blues or Future Blues nominated for this year’s Players’ Champion Award for the Rugby League Players’ Association.
There are 11 players from the victorious NSW team that made history this season after winning the Ampol State of Origin series 2-1 with three matches played in Queensland because of the COVID-19 outbreak in NSW.
They include Tedesco and Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Cleary, Issah Yeo and Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), and Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons).
True Blues Clint Gutherson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels), and Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs), who have been part of NSW Origin campaigns in the past, and Future Blues Nicho Hynes (Melbourne Storm) and Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers), who were part of the extended Blues squad this year, were also nominated.
The peer-nominated honour will again recognise the best players from the NRL- as voted by those who take the field each week. Alongside The Players’ Champion award will be The Players’ Rookie of the Year, The Players’ Dream Team and The Dennis Tutty Award.
A six-week multichannel campaign will be produced and distributed in partnership with the Nine Network for the second year, culminating on the biggest day of the season as The Players’ Champion is crowned during Nine’s Live Grand Final Day broadcast.
“Like the rest of Australia, the past 12 months has again been a dynamic and challenging period," RLPA CEO Clint Newton said.
“The sacrifices of players and many others connected to the game have been necessary given their impact on fans, clubs, and each other, but they are not forgotten.
“We have witnessed players continually do their best even though the demands have repeatedly increased with players continuing to support each other throughout the season.”
Players' Champion Award nominees
Brisbane Broncos: Payne Haas, Jake Turpin, Herbie Farnworth, Alex Glenn
Canberra Raiders: Josh Hodgson, Jordan Rapana, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs: Jake Averillo, Luke Thompson, Nick Cotric, Nick Meaney
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: William Kennedy, Connor Tracey, Blayke Brailey, Tody Rudolf
Gold Coast Titans: David Fifita, AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans, Keiran Foran, Reuben Garrick
Melbourne Storm: Christian Welch, Jarome Hughes, Brandon Smith, Nicho Hynes
Newcastle Knights: Jacob Saifiti, Connor Watson, Jayden Brailey, Daniel Saifiti
New Zealand Warriors: Reece Walsh, Addin Fonua-Blake, Tohu Harris, Marcelo Montoya
North Queensland Cowboys: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Reece Robson, Jason Taumalolo, Scott Drinkwater
Parramatta Eels: Clint Gutherson, Isaiah Papali'i, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Reed Mahoney
Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary, Issah Yeo, James Fisher-Harris, Jarome Luai
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds, Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Cameron Murray
St George Illawarra Dragons: Blake Lawrie, Ben Hunt, Jack Bird, Tariq Sims
Sydney Roosters: James Tedesco, Jared Waerea-Haregreaves, Joseph Manu, Angus Crichton
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks, Adam Doueihi, Daine Laurie, Stefano Utoikamanu