Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma has tonight been awarded the club’s Kelly-Barnes Award for the 2020 NRL Player of the Year.
Nofoaluma was presented with the honour in front of over 300 guests at Waterview in Bicentennial Park as part of the club’s annual Presentation Night.
The 26-year-old became the first winger in Wests Tigers history to claim the award, narrowly defeating Harry Grant — who took out of the club’s Rookie of the Year Award — while Alex Twal, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks rounded out the top five in voting.
Off the back of the Campbelltown junior’s successful 2020 campaign, eight of the last nine Kelly-Barnes Award winners have been from local juniors of Wests Tigers.
The award capped off a superb season for Nofoaluma, who finished as the club’s leading try-scorer with 17 tries. One of just three players to feature in every game for Wests Tigers, Nofoaluma directly contributed to more tries than any outside back in the competition, while also producing career high averages in runs, run metres and tackle breaks per game.
Nofoaluma was also voted by his teammates as the NRL Players’ Player of the Year — becoming the first player to take out both NRL awards since Luke Brooks in 2018.
Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership captain Botille Vette-Welsh was voted by her teammates as the Players’ Player of the Year while junior representative standout Sophie Curtain was named the women’s Player of the Year.
NRL Ken Stephen Medal nominee and retiree Chris Lawrence was again recognised for his outstanding community work by taking out the club’s Community Achievement Award — named in honour of former Balmain and Australia forward Wayne Pearce.
Wests Tigers Executive Assistant and Football Operations Clair Schwencke and Coaching and Development Officer Billy Callaway were named Wests Tigers Club Person of the Year, while NRL Sport Science and Innovation Coordinator Jess Adams was named Woman of the Year.
In addition to the player awards, Wests Tigers also inducted two new Life Members of the club — 2005 Premiership-winning duo Todd Payten and Daniel Fitzhenry.
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe extended his congratulations to all award winners on the night and to all who had contributed to the club throughout the year.
“On behalf of all at Wests Tigers, I’d like to congratulate all our award winners and nominees from tonight’s Kelly-Barnes Award,” Pascoe said.
“The 2020 season has given us challenges that we have never seen before, and I am tremendously proud of the way all players and staff adjusted throughout the year and the sacrifices made by many to ensure our season could be completed.
“Particularly, I’d like to congratulate David on his awards tonight and his impressive 2020 season,” he said. “David is a proud local junior and an incredibly important part of our organisation, and we know he will play a key role in our team for many years to come.
“I’d also like to congratulate our new Life Member inductees in Todd and Daniel and thank them for their commitment and contribution to Wests Tigers over the years.”
WESTS TIGERS 2020 SEASON AWARDS
Kelly-Barnes Award — David Nofoaluma
NRL Players’ Player — David Nofoaluma
NRL Rookie of the Year — Harry Grant
Harvey Norman Women’s Player of the Year — Sophie Curtain
Harvey Norman Women’s Players’ Player — Botille Vette-Welsh
Wayne Pearce Community Award — Chris Lawrence
Wests Tigers Club Person of the Year — Clair Schwencke and Billy Callaway
Wests Tigers Women of the Year — Jess Adams
Life Member Inductees — Todd Payten and Daniel Fitzhenry
2020 MILESTONES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Alex Seyfarth — Round 3 vs. Cronulla, Bankwest Stadium
Sam McIntyre — Round 6 vs. North Queensland, Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Reece Hoffman — Round 9 vs. South Sydney, Bankwest Stadium
Shawn Blore — Round 11 vs. Parramatta, Bankwest Stadium
Asu “AJ” Kepaoa — Round 13 vs. Newcastle, McDonald Jones Stadium
Joseph Leilua — Round 1 vs. St. George-Illawarra, WIN Stadium
Adam Doueihi — Round 1 vs. St. George-Illawarra, WIN Stadium
Billy Walters — Round 1 vs. St. George-Illawarra, WIN Stadium
Luciano Leilua — Round 1 vs. St. George-Illawarra, WIN Stadium
Zane Musgrove — Round 1 vs. St. George-Illawarra, WIN Stadium
Harry Grant — Round 3 vs. Cronulla, Bankwest Stadium
250 Wests Tigers Games
Benji Marshall — Round 13 vs. Newcastle, McDonald Jones Stadium
Chris Lawrence — Round 13 vs. Newcastle, McDonald Jones Stadium