Josh Dugan Claims Brad Fittler Medal

NSW VB Blues fullback Josh Dugan has tonight become the 10th recipient of the prestigious Brad Fittler Medal following an impressive 2015 State of Origin campaign in which he played every minute of the series.

On a night that recognised the achievements of players across all New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) teams and competitions, from Origin to seniors, juniors, women and Indigenous, as well as the contributions of referees and club officials, Dugan claimed the state’s top award in front of more than 650 guests at Sydney’s The Star Event Centre.

An honour claimed by San Francisco 49ers squad member Jarryd Hayne and NSW captain Paul Gallen, Dugan polled the highest votes from fellow VB Blues teammates, as well as Laurie Daley and his coaching staff.

Daley said Dugan deserved the accolade after his starring role in the series.

“Josh was outstanding over the course of the series and fully deserves this prestigious award,” Daley said. “He was our most consistent performer over the three games and I’m happy to see his efforts being recognised.”

NSW VB Blues front-rower Aaron Woods, who stepped up in the absence of several veteran forwards, won The Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award, chosen by VB Blues supporters.

Courageous vice-captain Robbie Farah was presented with the True Blue Award for displaying qualities upon which the team culture is built. Despite missing the third and decisive game with a broken hand, the hooker played a key role during the campaign.

“Robbie has a special kind of resilience and toughness,” Daley said.  “He played the majority of game one under duress and was an important member within the squad in the lead-up to game three.”

Origin stars shared the stage with some of the state’s rising talent, with the Newcastle Knights’ Tom Starling (SG Ball) and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks’ Fine Kula (Harold Matthews) winning the major junior rep awards for the 2015 season.

In the senior competitions, to be decided on finals day at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium on Sunday week (27 September), Mounties forward Mitch Barnett was crowned VB NSW Cup Player of the Year, Concord Burwood Wolves Alofi Mataele was named Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year and East Campbelltown Eagles’ Ben Baker won the Sydney Shield Player of the Year.

“Tonight was a wonderful way to celebrate the success of rugby league in NSW, from the grassroots to the elite level,” said NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said.

“I congratulate all the award winners for their outstanding achievements. It’s truly a wonderful reflection on the organisation and its direction.”

A list of major award winners follows. 

AWARD

WINNER

CLUB/ ORGANISATION

Harold Matthews Player of the Year

Fine Kula

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

SG Ball Player of the Year

Tom Starling

Newcastle Knights

Junior Representative Referee of the Year

Martin Jones

Canberra Refs Association

Grade Referee of the Year

Liam Nicholls

NSW Grade Squad

Ray Stellar Award (Club Person of the Year)

Paul Griffin

Hills District Bulls

KARI Indigenous Player of the Year

Zac Saddler

Leeton Greenies

NSWRL Welfare & Education Academic Award

Lionel O’Mally

Wentworthville Magpies

Sydney Shield Player of the Year

Ben Baker

East Campbelltown Eagles

Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year

Alofi Mataele

Concord Burwood Wolves

VB NSW Cup Player of the Year

Mitch Barnett

Mounties

Under-20s State Player of the Year

Brian Kelly

Gold Coast Titans

Women’s Player of the Year

Simaima Taufa

PCYC Mount Druitt

The Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award

Aaron Woods

NSW VB Blues (Wests Tigers)

True Blue Award

Robbie Farah

NSW VB Blues (Wests Tigers)

Brad Fittler Medal

Josh Dugan

NSW VB Blues (St George Illawarrra Dragons)