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Murray voted Kangaroos best

Westpac NSW Blues forward Cameron Murray capped off a stirling Pacific Championships by being named the winner of the prestigious Harry Sunderland Medal as Australia’s Player of the Series.

Murray played in two of the three Tests for the Kangaroos – wins against Samoa in Townsville and New Zealand in Melbourne. But he missed the final against the Kiwis at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton through injury.

Yet the Australian selectors, who each awarded players points on a three, two, one basis after each game, saw enough from the South Sydney captain in just two matches to vote him overall winner.

For those two games in the second row, Murray had five tackle-busts, two line-breaks, a line-break assist and a try assist, scored two himself, made 85 post-contact metres, ran for 252 metres from 26 hit-ups, and made 54 tackles missing just two.

The highly-acclaimed award was presented to Murray in front of his teammates by coach Mal Meninga on the eve of the Pacific Champions final last Saturday (4 November).

“I thought his first two games were his best in the green-and-gold jersey,” Meninga said.

“It’s just a huge shame he missed our third and final game.”

The 25-year-old has played eight Tests for Australia since making his debut against a Tonga Invitational outfit in 2019.

Previous True Blue winners of the Harry Sunderland Medal include Paul Gallen, Anthony Minichiello, Bradley Clyde, Wayne Pearce, Ray Price and Ron Coote – the player Murray is now historically linked to as the only two Kangaroos forwards to score a try in six consecutive Tests.

Coote actually won the medal twice in 1970 and 1974.

Sunderland was a journalist, Rugby League administrator and Kangaroos team manager, who worked around the game in both Australia and England.

He died in 1964 and from then the best Kangaroos player in an international series wins a medal in his honour. The best player in the UK’s Super League grand final each year wins the Harry Sunderland Trophy.

The first Australian Test player to win the medal was Immortal and True Blue, John Raper, in 1964.

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