G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year 2010: Announcement & Interview. - Green and Gold Rugby
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G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year 2010: Announcement & Interview.

G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year 2010: Announcement & Interview.

We’ve done the Domestic Series where Quade dazzled us with his sleight of hand. We’ve covered the Tri-Nations where Bam Bam blew us away with his ‘combatitiveness’. We’ve finished the Spring Tour where it was Gilbert who impressed us with his elusiveness from the back.  But who would come through as the overall winner? Who did we, the readers of Green and Gold Rugby, think was the best Wallaby of the Year?

This week I’ve tried my damnedest to try to build the tension. I’ve tried to capture the round-by-round accumulated scoring anxiety that comes from a Brownlow night. In reality? It’s had about as much tension as a Disney movie. The outcome has been as predetermined as a Rock‘n’Roll Wrestling bout. So no need to string things out now.

The  second ever Green & Gold Rugby Wallaby Player of the Year, for the year 2010, succeeding last year’s winner George Smith, the 2009 G&GR Wallaby Player of the Spring Tour, the 2010 G&GR Wallaby Player of the Tri-Nations (how’s this for not stringing it out) – David Pocock!

G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year - David Pocock

All year we’ve marvelled at Austin’s Wallaby stats proving time and time again the importance of Pocock to this Wallaby Team.

  • He played the second most test minutes (behind Rocky Elsom) with 1,167.
  • He made more tackles than any other Wallaby. In fact, he made almost 100 more than the man in second place, Nathan Sharpe.
  • He missed six tackles! That’s season-long, my friends. Quade missed that many in a single Test no less than four times. Pocock’s overall completion rate for the year was 98 per cent and he didn’t miss a tackle throughout the Spring tour.

A look at some of the more objective stats we gather here at G&GR is just as impressive. Take a look at the player ratings he was given throughout the year. A couple of 6s, against Fiji and Italy, are the only blights on his copybook. Four scores of 9 (qualified as “Outstanding performance: Man-of-the-match shoo-in”) together with five of 8 (“Excellent all-round game”) demonstrate his consistency.

As to his Player of the Year scores, it was the same story. According to our readers Pocock was Wallaby Man of the Match on seven occasions, including a run of five games in a row mid-season. He was runner-up for the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Domestic Series, he won the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Tri-Nations, and was again runner-up for the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Spring Tour. This overall award was simply never in doubt.

The final table stands as follows:

Position Player Points
1st David Pocock 24
2nd Kurtley Beale 17
3rd Nathan Sharpe 10
4th Quade Cooper 8
5th Rocky Elsom 6
Adam Ashley-Cooper 6
7th Stephen Moore 3
Drew Mitchell 3
9th Digby Ioane 2
Luke Burgess 2
Ben McCalman 2
James O’Connor 2
Berrick Barnes 2
14th Saia Faingaa 1
Will Genia 1
Lachie Turner 1

I managed to catch up with Dave during a short visit he had to Brisbane after the completion of the Spring Tour, to present him his award (no doubt now sitting next to his John Eales Medal) and take a look back at his first full year as the Wallaby No. 7.

Acknowledging that he did feel pressure this year with George Smith having retired last year (after winning the G&GR Player of the Year award, it must be noted), a full year of international football has taken a toll on Pocock.

“I can definitely feel it,” he says, “That’s for sure. But you have to learn to manage it. We work closely with the physio, the doctor and the coach, and we get to know when we need to have a lighter week. To work out what’s best for the body.”

But for Pocock, all the motivation he needs to keep his body moving comes from his thrill he derives from playing with this Wallaby team.

“Young and old, they are a great bunch of guys. Obviously there’s been an emphasis on youth lately with guys like James O’Connor. But I also really enjoy playing with the older guys like Nathan Sharpe and Matt Giteau.”

While Pocock speaks glowingly of the performances of Sharpe and the value he brought to the 2010 Wallabies, there’s no denying the impact of Generation Y on the team. It’s worth noting that the big winners, in terms of G&GR awards, this year – Cooper, Pocock and Beale – all played in the Australian Schoolboys side of 2005.

The 2005 Australian Schoolboys team take on Samoa at Ballymore.

That team rivals the famous 1977-78 Aussie Schoolboys squad as a Wallaby production line, with Ben Daley, Will Genia, Ben McCalman and Lachlan Turner also having graduated. But Pocock is quick to point out the abundance of youthful talent elsewhere in Australian rugby.

“There’s a lot of young talent running around in Super Rugby from that Schoolboys team, but don’t forget the Australian Under 19 team who won the World Cup in 2006, with the Faingaa twins. That was a talented team as well.”

The 2010 form of Beale, runner up for the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year, has been a particular highlight for Pocock.

“He’s really matured a lot this year, and has done a lot of work off the field to remove the distractions that were getting in the way in the past.

“He’s fit too,” adds Bam Bam, in respect of the artist formerly known as Portley. “He’s probably the leanest of the Wallaby backs and you can see what it means on the park. He has shown some amazing skills this year and I expect that will continue next year.”

Pocock’s schoolboy First XV team mate Cooper also draws his praise.

“Quade has the skills, there’s no doubt. But what was impressive this year, was his option-taking and his ability to control the game. He’s like Kurtley in that he’s matured and sorting things out off the field. If it continues he can be a considerably better player than he is already.”

As for the Wallabies’ 2010 campaign, Pocock tends to agree with Matt Gagger and most of our readers, that overall it was positive. The loss to England was the real lowlight (“I don’t know what happened there, we prepared so well for it”) but three breakthrough performances perhaps defined the season.

The win over South Africa in Bloemfontein, following the loss in Pretoria the week before (“very disappointing but it did give us the confidence that we could win over there”); the streak-breaking win over New Zealand in Hong Kong (“we carried the momentum on from the win over South Africa at altitude which gave us a lot of belief”); and then the thrashing of France, where the Wallabies showed a bit more killer instinct (“it just shows when the forwards take the space in the middle, how dangerous we can be out wide”).

Pocock - clearly enjoying his rugby.

Pocock is enjoying his last little remnant of rugby-free time before it all starts again, for what will be a massive 2011. With the new coaching set-up at the Force, ahead of an expanded Super Rugby season before the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, there’s a lot on Bam Bam’s plate.

While he admits the RWC is a factor at the back of his mind, as he says “the Super season is a looong season”. And if there’s any Aussie rugby fans worried that more local derbies will take from the significance of the matches, take heed of Dave’s words: “We won’t be taking it any easier on each other, that’s for sure.”

  • Rhyso

    What a legend. Future Wallaby captain.

  • Scarfman

    I hope these things are laser printed. Don’t want the ink-jet to run.

  • CraigB

    Great player, shit certificate

    • looks like we have a sponsor for the award next year!

    • I’ll have you all know that 80 gsm is highly treasured.

      They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore…

      • sevenpointdropgoal

        Next year I will personally donate a single sheet of light blue/off white 160gsm textured award paper, of the type used by universities for printing degrees, and in investment collateral from companies that are trying to look professional while struggling avoid voluntary administration. You may quote me on that.

        Also; congratulations to Bam Bam.

      • Skip

        Pay no attention :-D! It’s clear you spent more time compiling the stats and chasing his agent than printing. Besides, this a not-for-profit site, no?

        • yep, of course I now realise I should have given him one of our stubby coolers. I’ll let you guess which one…

  • Funk

    Top work Bam! Well Deserved.
    But the woman on the Pixma add could have whipped up a better certificate than that haha.

  • Alan

    100% future wallaby captain and ive no doubt that he will soon become the no.1 MVP in world rugby. His rise has been sensational and the way in which he puts his body on the line countless times in every match is beyond incredible.

    A true warrior and a gent. Hope he is enjoying his time off, there is no one who deserves it more

  • Langthorne

    Pocock?! I demand a recount!

    Seriously – he guy rocked all season.

  • chequebalance

    What a difference a year can make! From the legend George Smith to the future (not too distant future) legend Bam Pocock! Well done on a fantastic season!

    Also well done to the G&GR team as well on a great year of rugby readings.

  • Lee Grant

    Nice work and interview RugbyReg.

    David was our best player by a long chalk. I knew when he was in that 2005 Oz Schools team you mentioned that he would be a Wallaby one day, the way that opponents side stepped him (when he had the ball). Beale, with still a year to go at school, was the other sure future international and the reserve flyhalf/fullback, Cooper, who would also be back at school in 2006, looked handy too.

    Pocock had a hard upbringing in Zimbabwe; so the problem of playing against grown men in pro rugby straight after leaving school held no terrors for him.

    He has been fearless at the breakdown and the timing and skill of his gathering the pill with a bent arm whilst holding players back with the other has become a signature talent. The frequency and accuracy of his tackling is another feature of his play, and we are just recently appreciating his ball running and linking skills.

    His ability against all teams and in any weather or ground conditions makes him a man for all seasons. Let us all hope that there are many of them.

  • Pez

    Well deserved Bam, although as some others have mentioned – that certificate could do with some work… Let me know if you guys would like some help designing a new one, I’d be more than happy to donate my services.

  • dobduff11

    Great player Great Certificate

    Although it could be a little bigger like one of those giant cheques. Then he wouldn’t be able to get rid of it

  • I’ll have you all know that Dave rushed home after the interview to present the award to his mum in gratitude for all of her support.

    Seriously, he’s a wonderful fellah, very impressive and was genuinely pleased with the recognition.

  • Bobas

    Just personally congratulated David P on the facebook lets hope he doesn’t do a George Smith and retire after receiving rugby’s most coveted of awards.

    This is something George Smith and Pocock will have over Richie McCheat for eternity.

  • Rocket

    I feel as if their should be a Bam Bam highlights reel…..

    • Drew B

      It would be 1,167 minutes long!

  • Thomas

    Why didn’t you record the interview?

    • I intended to. But about 15 mins before we met, Briso was hit but a massive storm, and the little cafe we met in, what with all the customers huddled around 3 small tables, and the buckets of rain falling, did not provide the best audio environment.

  • Groucho

    Fantastic. So proud to have him in the team. Best. Poach. Ever. :)

  • theduke

    Amazing how a bloke can take over from George Smith so impressively – not an easy task.

    Well done the G&GR team this year. Been reading the site every day. Awesome work.

    You blokes will dominate in the world cup year 2011.

  • Garry

    With the last podcast in mind, it’s great to see that Rugby still has a strong demand for the short blokes (flanker/pinchers, and the front row), which the other two codes have seemed to forgotten about. Lets hope that schoolboy rugby coaches are pushing that barrow. Dave, good work fella! For keeping our hopes alive, and for inspiring youngsters to shoot for the green and gold, especially the short arses. How much less of a team we would have been with out you?

    BTW. The low light you referred to, losing to the ‘to and froms’. Was that the Sydney game, in front of our home crowd, or the pantsing we copped in the UK?

  • JJJ

    Is that plastic laminate I spy on the certificate?

  • Jay

    “we carried the momentum on from the win over South Africa at altitude which gave us a lot of belief”

    Except there was a loss to the All Blacks in Sydney in between Bloem and HK.

    • Gumby

      The loss in Sydney should never have happened and the final result certainly didn’t reflect the overall game. They all knew it and set it right in HK.

      On another note thanks to all the G&G regulars for the last seasons reports. It is without doubt the most comprehensive Rugby site I have come across.

  • Queensland Reds Fan

    Absolute legend of a bloke and a rugby player. But hopefully he has a quiet game in the first round of the super rugby next year against the Reds ;)

  • Pedro

    Mr consistency, he was immense for every minute of the tri-nations/bledisloe, but even when he had a quiet game he was always the most influential forward. So glad he was strong enough to shoulder the massive work load without injury.

    Whatever you say about the rest of the squad, the wallabies have been blessed with two (although different in style) world class opensides with overlapping careers. The biggest compliment you can give Pocock is that we don’t miss George Smith nearly as much as we should.

  • Louis

    Well deserved Pocock and agree with KB running second, but I’m not to sure about Sharpe? I reckon he’s a bit overrated, anyone keen to explain why he’s viewed as the third best wallaby this year,

    • chasmac

      Sharpe is right up there because he is so good at the things he is in the team for, namely lineouts and kickoff receipts. In these areas he is rarely dominated. On top of that his general play is top shelf in both attack and defence. And his work rate is high and his error rate is low. He may not appear on the scoresheet often but this is not a negative. The only areas that come under the microscope is his role in the scrum plus his age.

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

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