St.George Queensland Reds prop James Slipper has dominated the Reds Gala Ball awards proceedings, taking out the coveted Pilecki Medal for players’ player, the People’s Choice Award and the Spirit of the Reds award.
This is Slipper’s second Pilecki Medal in three years. He claimed this year’s with 239 votes, followed closely by Jake Schatz on 196 and Greg Holmes with 192.
Reds head coach Richard Graham commended Slipper on his season, in which he garnered the support of players and fans alike.
“James’ work-rate around the field is a huge benefit to the team and he backs that up with a tremendous attitude off the field,” Graham said.
“For him to win this award, when he missed a couple of games through suspension and missed some time through injury, it’s a credit to him and the high opinion his teammates have of his contributions on the field.
“Equally impressive is that our family, the Reds fan base, voted him the People’s Choice award as well. Props don’t often get a lot of praise in the public eye because they don’t have a glamorous job to do on the field, so for him to be recognised in this way is outstanding.
“The Spirit of the Reds Award is something voted on by Queensland Rugby staff and his actions on and off the field this season secured him this award.”
The Pilecki Medal is voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the players following each game of the season, and 2014 has seen the Reds forwards dominate the voting – with Schatz, Holmes, Rob Simmons and Beau Robinson rounding out the top five.
However, Reds centre Samu Kerevi polled the highest individual round score, with 56 points of a possible 138, in his team’s loss to the Western Force in Perth in Round 15.
The Pilecki Medal is named after Queensland prop Stan Pilecki, who earned 122 caps during his playing career.
Reds flanker and McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City captain Curtis Browning has claimed the Most Improved award in his first season as a contracted member of the team.
A two-time Australian Under-20 player of the year and Under-20 captain, Browning made his debut for the Reds last year and followed it up with a further 10 games this season. Browning’s award follows on last season being named the Reds Rookie of the Year.
“Curtis made a significant step up in both his on-field and off-field presence this season,” Graham said.
“He’s an impressive young man who continues to work hard to become a better Rugby player. We look forward to seeing how he grows throughout the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship and the Reds pre-season.”
Reds and Brisbane City centre Kerevi has been named the Reds’ Rising Rugby Star after making his debut for the team late in the 2014 season.
“Samu was one of the finds of the Super Rugby season. He came into the Reds as a member of the Extended Player Squad for the 2014 season and had to work hard to overcome a knee and ankle injury early in the year.
“When he finally got onto the field late in the Super Rugby season he showed a lot of strong qualities, which he will continue to develop throughout the NRC. We’re looking forward to seeing what he brings to table for the Reds in 2015.”
Kerevi’s club Rugby teammate Sam Johnson picked up the Wider Training Squad award for his efforts in 2014. The St. Edmund’s College, Ipswich, graduate joined the Reds this season and represented Reds A in the Pacific Rugby Cup before making his Super Rugby debut against the Western Force.
“Sam made a welcome return this year through GPS in club Rugby and the Reds Wider Training Squad. He was a valuable member of the Reds A team during the Pacific Rugby Cup and his hard worked paid off at the back end of the year when he earned his Reds debut. He’ll continue to develop with Bond University Queensland Country throughout the NRC.”
The Reds Gala Ball is also an opportunity to celebrate grassroots Rugby, with participants and volunteers alike recognised.
Brisbane City and Sunnybank outside back Rex Tapuai was awarded the Alec Evans Medal for Queensland Premier Rugby Player of the Year. The award is based on 3, 2, 1 votes by referees following each Premier Rugby match. Tapuai was a standout for Sunnybank this season, helping the side reach the Premier Rugby grand final.
Queensland Country and Sunnybank backrower Lolo Fakaosilea claimed the Queensland Rugby Colt of the Year award for his performances in 2014, including helping his club side to the Premier Rugby grand final and representing the Australian Under 20s.
Emilee Cherry has been named Queensland Rugby’s Female Player of the Year for her contributions to the game, including being named the IRB Women’s Sevens Player of the Year and helping Queensland to the National Women’s Sevens Championships title.
Shenae Ciesiolka, 17, from Darling Downs has won the Youth Girls Player of the Year award. She is currently a member of the Queensland Women’s Sevens Academy and was part of the National Women’s Sevens Championship-winning Queensland side. She also won gold as part of the Australian Youth Girls Sevens team at the Youth Olympic Games in China this year.
The award for Volunteer of the Year was a shared honour at this year’s Gala Ball, with Brisbane Junior Rugby Union President Michael Grice and Queensland Junior Rugby Union President Warren Acworth both deserving winners. Both men have made significant contributions to the administration of the game over many years and have a great love of Rugby and passion for volunteering.
Reds Gala Ball award winners
Pilecki Medal – James Slipper
People’s Choice – James Slipper
Most Improved – Curtis Browning
Rising Rugby Star – Samu Kerevi
Spirit of the Reds – James Slipper
Wider Training Squad Player of the Year – Sam Johnson
Alec Evans Medal – Queensland Premier Rugby – Rex Tapuai
Premier Rugby Colt of the Year – Lolo Fakaosilea
Female Player of the Year – Emilee Cherry
Youth Girls Players of the Year – Shenae Ciesiolka
Volunteer of the Year – Warren Acworth and Michael Grice
2014 Pilecki Medal Top 10
James Slipper – 239
Jake Schatz – 196
Greg Holmes – 192
Rob Simmons – 141
Beau Robinson – 132
Liam Gill – 117
Ed Quirk – 95
Ben Tapuai – 92
James Hanson – 89
Anthony Fainga’a – 88
Pilecki Medal history
2014 James Slipper (239 votes)
2013 Jake Schatz (269 votes)
2012 James Slipper (272 votes)
2011 Will Genia (263 votes)
2010 Will Genia (209 votes)
2009 Digby Ioane (253 votes)
2008 David Croft (195 votes)
2007 David Croft (188 votes)
2006 Rodney Blake (186 votes)
2005 Nathan Sharpe
2004 Chris Latham
2003 Julian Huxley
2002 Chris Latham
2001 Toutai Kefu
2000 Chris Latham
1999 Chris Latham
1998 Daniel Herbert
1997 John Eales
1996 Jason Little
1995 Jason Little
1994 Matthew Pini
1993 Rod McCall
1992 Peter Slattery
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