2020 season award winners
The Western Force has recognised its most consistent players for the 2020 season at the annual Nathan Sharpe Medal awards dinner.
Making his Super Rugby debut this season, Fergus Lee-Warner consistently stood out as one of the competition’s best, earning himself the prestigious 2020 Nathan Sharpe Medal.
The 2019 Matt Hodgson Rising Star medallist, Lee-Warner lead the NSM tally with 138 votes as 2013 NSM winner Kyle Godwin following narrowly behind with 125 votes.
Head coach Tim Sampson said Fergus’ recognition this season is well-deserved and highlights the potential of the young lock.
“Fergus is a great example of a player that has excelled after transitioning into a professional player, just two and a half years ago,” Sampson said.
“From playing club rugby in 2017 to winning the Nathan Sharpe medal within 3 seasons highlights how much potential Fergus has.
“He was outstanding in this year’s Super Rugby AU competition.”
The winner of the medal is determined by each member of the matchday 23 voting for the best three players on the ground following each game.
Fleet-footed winger Byron Ralston was awarded the Matt Hodgson, Rising Star Medal, following a breakout year that saw him score the Force’s first try of their historic Super Rugby AU return.
“As a young player new to a professional program, there is no doubt that Byron has a bright future,” Matt Hodgson said.
“He is a player that is consistent, exciting and has the X factor which is something that excites us very much.
“Since joining the Force for the 2019 National Rugby Championship, Byron has worked incredibly hard which has been showcased in his on-field performances this year. We are very excited to see him develop in the future.”
Head coach Tim Sampson echoed head of rugby Matt Hodgson’s sentiments.
“2020 was set out to be a big year for Byron where he was a certainty to be included in the Junior Wallabies World Cup campaign. Unfortunately, there was no World Cup however Byron continued on with his great form from the 2019 NRC competition, showing a lot of class throughout Super Rugby AU,” Sampson said.
The Members’ MVP went to Force favourite and club stalwart Brynard Stander.
Stander’s consistent hard tackling and on-field fighting spirit also saw him win the Retravision Man of the Match award in Round 2 of the Super Rugby AU competition.
The Force Man Award recognises a player’s contribution in representing the club values both on and off-field, as voted for by the coaching staff. This year’s Geoff Stooke Force Man was presented to captain Ian Prior.
Prior stepped up during a challenging, yet exciting time for the club, as the team played the entire 2020 Super Rugby season away from home. He brought leadership and guidance to the squad when they needed it most.
2020 Nathan Sharpe Medal Dinner – Award Winners
Nathan Sharpe Medal: Fergus Lee-Warner
Matt Hodgson Rising Star: Byron Ralston
Members’ Most Valuable Player: Brynard Stander
Geoff Stooke Force Man Award: Ian Prior
Nathan Sharpe Medal – Honour Roll
2019 – Issak Fines
2018 – Brynard Stander
2017 – Isi Naisarani
2016 – Dane Haylett-Petty
2015 – Ben McCalman
2014 – Matt Hodgson
2013 – Kyle Godwin
2012 – David Pocock
2011 – David Smith
2010 – Matt Hodgson
2009 – Matt Hodgson
2008 – Ryan Cross
2007 – Matt Giteau
2006 – Scott Staniforth