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2019 Presentation Night Awards, Winners

Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks has tonight been awarded the Kelly-Barnes Award for the 2019 NRL Player of the Year.

Brooks was presented with the prestigious honour for the second year in a row as part of the club’s annual Presentation Night this evening at Le Montage.

The 24-year-old becomes the first player to win the club’s NRL Player of the Year Award in consecutive seasons since Gareth Ellis in 2010 and 2011.

After taking out the 2018 Dally M Halfback of the Year, Brooks continued his impressive form at club level in 2019 — registering career highs in try assists, offloads, tackles, kicking metres and running metres. The Holy Cross Rhinos junior was one of just four players to feature in every game for the club this season, the second year in a row in which he has played every match available for Wests Tigers.

Brooks narrowly took out the award ahead of Ryan Matterson, while Benji Marshall, David Nofoaluma and Alex Twal rounded out the top five in voting.

Brooks and Matterson also finished as finalists in the NRL Players’ Player of the Year Award, with fullback Corey Thompson taking out the award chosen by the players themselves.

Impressive young forward Thomas Mikaele was named the club’s Rookie of the Year after featuring in 23 of a possible 24 matches for Michael Maguire’s side this season, while Paul Momirovski and Luke Garner were also recognised for their strong performances.

Watson Heleta took out both the Player of the Year and Players’ Player Awards for the club’s Intrust Super Premiership side, Western Suburbs Magpies, while Felix Smith (Player of the Year) and Curtis Wilson (Players’ Player) picked up the awards in Jersey Flegg.

Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership captain Botille Vette-Welsh was voted by her teammates as the Players’ Player with Najvada George named the Player of the Year in the club’s inaugural season in the senior women’s competition.

NRL Ken Stephen Medal nominee Josh Aloiai was again recognised for his outstanding and extensive community work by taking out the club’s Community Achievement Award for the second year running — named in honour of former Balmain and Australia forward Wayne Pearce.

Wests Tigers Chief Financial Officer Mark Sawicki was named Club Person of the Year.

Liz Callaghan was named Wests Tigers Woman of the Year following her contributions to Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership and Tarsha Gale sides in recent seasons, as well as her overall contribution to the club’s women’s rugby league program.

In addition to the player awards, Wests Tigers also inducted three new Life Members — former players in Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan as well as Peter Binet, whose long-standing financial contributions to the club have been officially recognised.

Heighington was the first player to reach 200 games for Wests Tigers between 2003 and 2012 — including the club’s maiden Premiership victory in 2005 — while Ryan played 104 games for the club between 2007 and 2012, scoring 46 tries in that time.

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe extended his congratulations to all award winners on the night, and to all who contributed to Wests Tigers throughout the 2019 season.

“On behalf of everyone at Wests Tigers, I’d like to congratulate all our award winners and nominee from tonight’s Kelly-Barnes Award,” Pascoe said.

“Particularly, I’d like to congratulate Luke on tonight’s Kelly-Barnes Award. Luke continues to be an impressive young man both on and off the field, and he is an incredibly important part of this organisation and team moving forward.

“I am delighted to see his contributions throughout the year be recognised tonight.

“I’d also like to congratulate our new Life Members in Chris, Beau and Peter, and thank them for their commitment and dedication to Wests Tigers over the years.”


NRL Player of the Year (Kelly-Barnes Award) — Luke Brooks

NRL Players’ Player of the Year — Corey Thompson

NRL Rookie of the Year — Thomas Mikaele

Canterbury Cup Player of the Year — Watson Heleta

Canterbury Cup Players’ Player — Watson Heleta

Jersey Flegg Player of the Year — Felix Smith

Jersey Flegg Players’ Player — Curtis Wilson

Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year — Avia Minute

Ron Massey Cup Players’ Player — Josh Daley

Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Player of the Year — Najvada George

Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Players’ Player — Botille Vette-Welsh

Wayne Pearce Community Award — Josh Aloiai

Wests Tigers Club Person of the Year — Mark Sawicki

Wests Tigers Woman of the Year — Liz Callaghan

Life Member Inductees — Chris Heighington, Beau Ryan, Peter Binet


First-Grade Debuts

Thomas Mikaele — Round 1 vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval

Oliver Clark — Round 9 vs. Penrith Panthers, Suncorp Stadium

Tommy Talau — Round 22 vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Lottoland

Club Debuts

Paul Momirovski — Round 1 vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval

Robert Jennings — Round 1 vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval

Ryan Matterson — Round 1 vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval

300 NRL Games

Benji Marshall — Round 17 vs. Parramatta Eels, Bankwest Stadium

Robbie Farah — Round 19 vs. Newcastle Knights, McDonald Jones Stadium

150 NRL Games

Josh Reynolds — Round 25 vs. Cronulla Sharks, Leichhardt Oval

Representative Players

Moses Mbye — Queensland State of Origin

Botille Vette-Welsh — New South Wales State of Origin

Esan Marsters — New Zealand, Maori All Stars

Benji Marshall — New Zealand

Michael Maguire — New Zealand (Coach)

David Nofoaluma — Samoa

Josh Aloiai — Samoa

Michael Chee Kam — Samoa

Robbie Farah — Lebanon

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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