Ahead of the 2017 National Rugby Championship (NRC) Grand Final in Canberra, RUPA has released the names of the ten finalists in contention to win the NRC Players’ Player of the Year.
All players who competed in the 2017 NRC have received voting information and have two weeks to make their selections. The NRC Players’ Player award was first presented in 2014, with all 2017 NRC players invited to vote on a 3-2-1 basis. Its’ previous winners are Jake Gordon (2016), Samu Kerevi (2014) and Ita Vaea (2015).
Seven of the ten finalists are likely to play in the Grand Final as the Vikings host Queensland Country at 7:30pm AEDT (live on Fox Sports) on Saturday.
Powerful Vikings backrowers Rob Valetini and Tom Cusack are joined by fullback Tom Banks for the hosts, while traveling Queensland Country have prop Taniela Tupou in contention alongside backline stars Filipe Daugunu, Chris Feauia-Sautia and Duncan Paia’aua.
Perth Spirit backrower Isi Naisarani, Rams’ Number Eight Jed Holloway and NSW Country Eagles flyhalf Tayler Adams complete the shortlist, with the winner to be announced at the annual Volvo-RUPA Awards Luncheon in Sydney on Wednesday December 13th.
Tayler Adams (23, NSW Country Eagles): 8 games, 63 points (2 tries, 5 penalties, 19 conversions)
Tom Banks (23, Canberra Vikings): 8 games, 35 points (7 tries)
Tom Cusack (24, Canberra Vikings): 8 games, 25 points (5 tries)
Filipe Daugunu (22, Queensland Country): 7 games, 50 points (10 tries)
Chris Feauai-Sautia (23, Queensland Country): 8 games, 25 points (5 tries)
Jed Holloway (25, Greater Sydney Rams): 6 games, 20 points (4 tries)
Isi Naisarani (22, Perth Spirit): 8 games, 15 points (3 tries)
Duncan Paia’aua (22, Queensland Country): 7 games, 52 points (10 tries, 1 conversion)
Taniela Tupou (22, Queensland Country): 8 games, 20 points (4 tries)
Rob Valetini (19, Canberra Vikings): 9 games, 35 points (7 tries)
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.
Stay tuned for announcements regarding the finalists in other award categories over the coming days and weeks.