RUPA is proud to announce the five finalists in contention to win the NRC Players’ Player of the Year.
Twelve players were initially shortlisted, representing all eight competing teams, with all players who competed in the 2018 NRC submitting their responses on a 3-2-1 basis. The winner will be announced at the Volvo RUPA Awards Luncheon, to be held on Wednesday December 12th in Sydney.
The top five is as follows:
Quade Cooper (Brisbane City) - 7 NRC appearances, 63 points:
"He played with all of the enthusiasm and the extremely high skill level that you'd expect from Quade. He was fantastic for the competition, and probably one of the highlights was his off-field work before and after games spending copious amounts of time with fans having photos and signing autographs. He played with a smile on his face, which was great to see." Stephen Hoiles, FOX Sports Commentator
Tom English ( Melbourne Rising): 7 NRC appearances, 45 points
"Tom English is a stalwart of the Melbourne Rising team, and he really stood out on the wing as such a brilliant finisher. He scored five tries in one game that I called, which I had only ever seen in the Super W, so that was a special moment. He's a real leader, and that's what set him apart from other guys in the competition this year." Andrew Swain, FOX Sports Commentator
Jordan Jackson-Hope (Vikings) - 7 NRC appearances, 31 points:
"Jordan has been around for a couple of years, but 2018 was the first time we really saw what he can do on the footy field. He sliced the line with ease, and his ability to put other guys away as well was really impressive. He had a great campaign." Andrew Swain, FOX Sports Commentator
Jordan Petaia (Queensland Country) - 9 NRC appearances, 55 points:
"Played his way to a Wallaby tour, and he just makes everything look oh so easy! He's such a natural footy player, and he has the footwork, the fend, the offloads and the toughness to carry hard when he needs to. A young man who plays well beyond his years." Stephen Hoiles, FOX Sports Commentator
Alivereti Veitokani (Fijian Drua) - 9 NRC appearances, 37 points:
"He was outstanding, and his ability to create something out of nothing, mesmerise the opposition defence, break through contact and keep the ball alive was unbelievable. He's a really dangerous player and somebody who you would imagine will have a long future in the 10 or 15 jersey for Fiji." Stephen Hoiles, FOX Sports Commentator
The NRC Players’ Player award is one of eight major awards presented at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Lunch including the RUPA Medal for Excellence, the most prestigious player-voted honour in Australian Rugby, as well as the Taylors Wines People’s Choice Australian Player of the Year and Academic Achievement awards. Previous NRC Players' Player award winners are Tom Cusack (2017), Jake Gordon (2016), Samu Kerevi (2014) and Ita Vaea (2015).
Stay tuned for announcements regarding the finalists in other award categories over the coming days and weeks.