Rugby Australia Awards RECAP: Valetini, Karpani claim major awards

Rugby Au

Rugby’s night of nights is here as players convene in Sydney for the Rugby Australia Awards.

The awards returned to a physical event for the first time since 2019 with the John Eales Medalist set to be crowned along with the Wallaroo of the Year, Shawn Mackay Sevens Players of the Year and other significant awards.

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Rob Valetini took out his first John Eales Medal, going one better than 2022.

Meanwhile, Eva Karpani finished strong to claim the Wallaroos Player of the Year, whilst Maddison Levi and Henry Paterson took out the Shawn Mackay Medals.


9:10 – Full Awards Winners

It was a fast-paced awards night and a plethora of first-time winners as the 2023 Rugby Australia Awards concluded in Sydney.

Here is a full list of award winners:

2023 Rugby Australia Awards – Full list:

John Eales Medal – Rob Valetini

Buildcorp Wallaroos Player of the Year – Eva Karpani

Shawn Mackay Award for Men’s Sevens Player of the Year – Henry Paterson

Shawn Mackay Award for Women’s Sevens Player of the Year – Maddison Levi

Harvey Norman Super Rugby Player of the Year – Fraser McReight, QLD Reds

Buildcorp Super W Player of the Year – Cecilia Smith, QLD Reds

RA Rookie of the Year Award – Carys Dallinger, Wallaroos

RA Junior Men’s Player of the Year (U20) – Teddy Wilson

RA Junior Women’s Player of the Year (U20) – Faitala Moleka

Cadbury Try of the Year – Jake Upfield, QLD Reds vs Highlanders

FEDEX Referee of the Year – Angus Gardner

Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award – Bernard Tuaimau, Sydney Junior Rugby Union, AND Nathan Maiava, Melton Rugby Club

Joe French Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rugby – Tim Gavin, Eastern Suburbs and New South Wales

Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award – Michael Crank, Mount Maria College

Andrew Cole Community Match Official of the Year – Anthony Furey, Central Coast Rugby Union Referees

8:40 – John Eales Medalist

Rob Valetini has finally broken through for his first John Eales Medal.

Finishing second last year, the backrower held off a fast-finishing Angus Bell by 11 votes.

Valetini started every game for the Wallabies, including making his World Cup debut against Georgia.

Read more about it here

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