GAGR Wallaby Player of the Season 2013: British & Irish Lions - Green and Gold Rugby
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GAGR Wallaby Player of the Season 2013: British & Irish Lions

GAGR Wallaby Player of the Season 2013: British & Irish Lions

The Green and Gold Rugby Wallaby Player of the Year probably still doesn’t sit on the same level as the John Eales Medal nor the IRB Player of the Year, however it stands apart as a fan-driven award.

Make no mistake. This isn’t one of those People’s Choice awards which is usually won by the player with the most social media followers, or is manipulated by the media department to be given to the player most in need of a profile push.

The GAGR Wallaby Player of the Year Award is determined by votes accumulated in our Forum after every Wallaby Test of a calendar year.  After every game, forum members will list their Wallaby 3-2-1s for their top three performers of that match. These votes are accumulated with the ultimate winner announced at the end of each year.

Our forum readers are no dunces either. Previous winners have included the likes of George Smith, Will Genia and David Pocock. Michael Hooper is our reigning champion claiming the honour in his debut season last year and continuing our readers’ seeming love affair with openside flankers.

But how will he fair this year? Realistically, you’d think he will have to be up there again. Or will be Israel Folau be the man and be the next to snag the prize in the year of his Wallaby debut?

Well, we’re going to do this progressively. Take yourselves back to the middle of the year and the most anticipated rugby tour to hit these shores for 12 years, as the British and Irish Lions arrived to seek redemption for their 2001 series loss.

Match One: v British & Irish Lions @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (22 June)

Australia: Berrick Barnes, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali’ifano, Digby Ioane, James O’Connor, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen, James Horwill [C], Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: Kurtley Beale, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Pat McCabe.

Lions:  Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Davies, George North, Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips, Jamie Heaslip, Sam Warburton [C], Tom Croft, Paul O’Connell, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Tom Youngs, Alex Corbisiero. Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Makovina Vunipola, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Ben Youngs.

Lions 23 (George North, Alex Cuthbert tries; Leigh Halfpenny 2 conv, 3 pg) defeated Australia 21 (Israel Folau 2 tries; James O’Connor con, pg; Kurtley Beale 2 pg)

G&GR Points:

3 – Israel Folau
2 – Will Genia
1 – Ben Mowen

Match Two: v British & Irish Lions @ Etihad Stadium, Melbourne (29 June)

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane, James O’Connor, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Ben Mowen, James Horwill [C], Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Rob Horne.

Lions: Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Davies, George North, Jonathan Sexton, Ben Youngs, Jamie Heaslip, Sam Warburton [C], Dan Lydiate , Geoff Parling, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Tom Youngs, Makovina Vunipola. Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray.

Australia 16 (Adam Ashley-Cooper try; Christian Lealiifano conv, 3 pg) defeated Lions 15 (Leigh Halfpenny  5 pg)

G&GR Points:

3 – Will Genia
2 – Ben Mowen
1 – Christian Leali’ifano

Match Three: v British & Irish Lions @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney (6 July)

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Leali’ifano, Joe Tomane, James O’Connor, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, George Smith, Ben Mowen, James Horwill [C], Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Replacements: James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps, Saia Faingaa, Ben McCalman, Jesse Mogg.

Lions: Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Jonathan Davies, Jamie, Roberts, George North, Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips, Toby Feletau, Sean O’Brien, Dan Lydiate , Geoff Parling, Alun Wyn Jones [C], Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero. Replacements: Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Makovina Vunipola, Richie Gray, Justin Tuperic, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi.

Lions 41 (Alex Corbisiero, Jonny Sexton, George North, Jamie Roberts tries; Leigh Halfpenny 3 con, 5 pg) defeated Australia 16 (James O’Connor try; Christian Lealiifano conv, 3 pg)

G&GR Points:

3 – Ben Mowen
2 – Stephen Moore
1 – Wycliff Palu

The thrashing in the last Test was the end of the Robbie Deans-era of Australian Rugby and the question must be asked – will we ever see a foreign coach of the Wallabies again? Well let’s not answer that here, but ask the other question that really must be asked – so who was the GAGR Wallaby Player of the British & Irish Lions Series? Let’s take a look at the table:

TOTAL

LIons POY

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it. Ben Mowen, a Wallaby debutant and all, takes out the first GAGR award for the year due to his resourceful efforts in the Lions series. You could say he improved in every match. Will the improvement continue? How will he go for the rest of the year? Well that comes in a couple of days’ time as we look at the next phase of the season – the Rugby Championship (plus one).

  • deLicious

    Folau*

    • RugbyReg

      Roger

  • SuckerForRed

    I am actually surprised that Genia polled that high. Oh well, I wait with baited breath for the next chapter.

    • Graeme

      He played very well in those 2 tests. It was only after the Lions that his form began to fall off.

  • Bairdy

    Surprising that Mowen polled so high, and Palu so low. You’d have to assume that Palu’s impact allowed Mowen to shine, if the internal Wallabies voting is anything to go by.

    Reg, are you only including the voting from the Lions tour for this year, in the calculations for the 2013 GAGR award winner? I reckon Moore, Fardy or Folau would take the prize if this was the case.

    • Check the fine print

    • Tony Dun

      Assuming there will be more articles like this to come, I would put a lazy 5 on Fardy and Moore being right up there

    • RugbyReg

      Bairdy, we will do a cumulative vote for all tests, but this is just for the Lions series. Next will be the Rugby Championships and finally the Spring Tour, which will end up giving us the 2013 winner

    • Mica

      C’mon – is this a wind up?
      Mowen was great against the Lions and Palu was his usual spasmodic self.
      So much potential and with so much inconsistency of application.
      The great tragedy of the Lion’s series was the injury to Higgers just prior. Though even with Higgers available Deans probably would have chosen Palu and Higgers (6) rather than Mowen (6) and Higgers (8).

      Mowen has definitely gone down a peg since the Lion’s tour, but since the tour he’s been playing 8 instead of 6.

  • The Rant

    JOC has been robbed.

  • Brendan Hume

    Its a real shock to look back at that first Wallabies team of 2013. As disappointing as that series was, that first test could have easily gone to Australia. I wonder how that would have shaped the rest of the year, if the Wallabies had got over the line in the Lions series? Certainly Link’s performances (if he got the gong and the ARU sacked a winning coach) would have been put into a different perspective.

British & Irish Lions
@RugbyReg

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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