Kurtley Beale’s growing importance to the Wallabies was emphasised on
Thursday, with the mercurial fullback winning the John Eales Medal voted
on by his teammates.
Initially a five-eighth when he entered the
Super Rugby ranks with the Waratahs in 2007, Beale has flourished since
moving to fullback last year.
He polled 127 votes, five more
than hooker Stephen Moore, with openside flanker and last year’s winner
David Pocock a further 22 back in third place.
Lock and newly
appointed Wallabies captain James Horwill finished fourth on 96, despite
missing last year’s spring tour through injury, with halfback Will
Genia fifth on 78.
Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by all 22 members of each Australian match day squad over the past 12 months.
Beale 22, polled votes in all but two of the Tests over that period.
elusive running set up numerous tries and scoring opportunities, while
his goalkicking contribution was highlighted by a long range last gasp
match winning penalty against South Africa in Bloemfontein in 2010.
The medal win capped of a spectacular 12 months for Beale.
won the Wallabies Rookie and Try of the Year awards in 2010, and was
also one of the five nominees for the International Rugby Board Player
of the Year award.
Genia, who had already won the Queensland and
Australian Super Player of the Year awards, was named the Australia’s
Choice Wallabies Player of the Year.
Brumbies utility back Pat
McCabe, who has started at inside centre in all five of Australia’s
Tests this year, collected the Rookie of the Year award, after making
his debut off the bench against Italy late last year.
Wallabies cult hero Radike Samo added further lustre to his status by
winning the Try of the Year for his stunning 60-metre solo effort
against New Zealand last weekend.
Other winners included Bernard
Foley (Sevens Player of the Year), Shannon Parry (Women’s Player of the
Year) and Michael Hooper (Under 20 Player of the Year).
New Zealander Steve Walsh, who will shortly officiate at his fourth World Cup, was named Referee of the Year.
Wallabies captain Mark Loane was presented with the Joe French award in
recognition of his long term service and contribution to Australian