Poll: Oz S14 Player of the Season - you decide! - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Poll: Oz S14 Player of the Season – you decide!

Poll: Oz S14 Player of the Season – you decide!
Aussie player of the comp

Aussie player of 2010

With the test season now upon us, the timing is perfect for us to come up with our Green and Gold Rugby Australian Super 14 Player of the Year Award. Now that’s a difficult task. Four teams each with about 30 odd players used. So that’s about 120 players you need to consider!! But no. We here at G&GR want to make it easy on you….or do we???

If you’ve been following the site over the last week or so you will know that we’ve named our S14 Player of the Year from each of the Australian sides. You can catch it all for the Reds , here for the Force , here for the Brumbies or here for the Tahs .

We’ll acknowledge that even those selections alone are a cause of conjecture. But we’re moving on. And so should you, because it’s time to vote. Which of our four excellent candidates is your choice as the stand out player amongst the Aussie sides? Your options are:

Will Genia from the Queensland Reds.

Sanchez was an inspiration for the Reds this year.  It was all against him early. He sky rocketed from nowhere into the Wallabies to being acclaimed by the UK press as one of the best players in the world.  How’s that for under pressure to perform? In the end this was his first season as the undoubted #1 Reds scrumhalf too, and after a couple if injury impacted years he was keen to perform. Then all of a sudden he has the captaincy thrust upon after the incumbent, James Horwill, was injured in the second game of the season.

But Genia’s form never faulted. Not only did his composure remain whilst skipper, but his attacking danger never diminished. Partnering with the mercurial Quade Cooper provided the Reds with a double barrel attacking force and Genia was at the heart of it all. From the very first match of the season, against the Waratahs, he grabbed the attention of our forum members securing his first man of the match award. He backed up again in Round 3 against the Blues and then again against the Cheetahs in Round 7. He stood up tallest (metaphorically obviously) against the best in the business – Fourie du Preez, and snagged another MOM vote when the Reds downed the mighty Bulls.  Then again the next week, against the Stormers, he was monumental. Whilst his team was losing to, he never gave up and picked up another Best on Ground v the Canes in the second last round.

Statistical Support:  19 line breaks for the season, which was equal with Cooper as the highest of the Aussies, and an average of just over 40 run metres a game put him head and shoulders above (for once) any other Aussie scrumhalf in the comp.

Tatafu Polota-Nau from the New South Wales Waratahs

TPN was just a monster for the Tahs this year. There were times he resembled nothing short of a human wrecking ball. Not only was it through his almost iconic grass cutting tackles, but with his running ball in hand. He must be one of the more fearsome forwards out there, when either side has the ball. But we knew about that. We’ve seen it since he first really came on to the scene some years ago now.  There were three things, in my mind, that changed for the big Taf in season 2010.

First of all was his line-out throwing. Whilst he wasn’t perfect he never had the outrageous clangers he has pulled out in the past way too often. Secondly, as an extension of this, was his consistency. Game after game he stood up and stood out! He battled through injury, only missing one game, cause he knew the Tahs needed him. It would seem his country may be paying for it now, but you can’t fault the toughness of the man. Finally, it’s his leadership. Now this is an aspect that has never been called into questions. Many pundits have proclaimed him a future Tah and even Wallaby captain. But this was the season it really showed. His play has been a lot more refined, without losing its robustness. His best season yet.

Man of the Match performances against the Reds (Rnd 1), the Sharks (Rnd 4), the Force (Rnd 6), the Blues (Rnd 7) and the Stormers in the semi-final proved him no flat track bully as he stood up in the games that counted.

Statistical Support: Well I have pointed out Genia’s 40 odd run metres, than Taf’s average of 41.75m per game is just exceptional. Compare it with other front rowers in the game (even Huia Edmonds) it is an phenomenal achievement.

Rocky Elsom from the ACT Brumbies

Big things were expected from big Rock in his return to Super Rugby. Coming from up norf when he was proclaimed, amongst other things, the best player in the game, the average punter was excited to have him ‘home’. He missed his first game through injury, but was straight into it in second round against the imposing Bulls pack. Elsom got through a pile of work in 2010 and was closely watched by the opposition. Whilst he didn’t enjoy the wide running game he got to partake in in Ireland, he never shirked his work load.

With plenty of wide runners in the Brumby outfit, Rocky based his game around work in tight and excelled with his bulk and aggression. After his Bulls Man of the Match effort, he got another against the Blues in Round 6 and another after the bye in Round 9 against the Cheetahs.  Despite only three MOM performances, his consistency lead to a bucket load of minor placings, and were enough to pick up the Brumby gong for the year.

Statistical Support: Rocky’s workload was where it’s at. Almost 11 tackles a game, about 9 ball carries (for 55m per game) and 18 rucks hit. It was often the unseen stuff that Rocky did so well.

James O’Connor from the Western Force

JOC - dangerous wherever he plays.Can I just take this opportunity to remind you all of something? James O’Connor is still only a teenage. That’s right. After his third season of Super Rugby he is only still just 19.  I say this because anyone who watched him play this season could have been ignorant to this fact. So assured, so brilliant, was young JOC’s form this year that he could’ve passed as a grizzled veteran.

Now, let’s get this out there early. Matty Hodgson’s form this year has been brilliant. He stood up when his experienced backrow cohorts in Brown and Pocock were injured and carried the load for a badly misfiring team. But whilst Hodgo was making the tackles and cleaning up, JOC was just oozing class at the back. Or in the middle. Or wherever he was picked. His ability to mix his game up is the game play the belies his youth. He has probably the best kicking game of any Australian player, and is up there with our most dangerous ball-in-hand as well.

Like his Player of the Year competitors, JOC picked up points early and just kept on doing it. Man of the Match in the first game against the Brumbies was followed up with maximum points against the Highlanders and Blues (Rounds 10 and 11 respectively). In the end it was tight at the top to Hodgson, Pocock and skipper Nathan Sharpe, but few could deny JOC’s potency and assuredness from the back for the struggling Force.

Statistical Support: JOC’s 1489 run metres, ball in hand, was top class this season. It placed him third behind Quade Cooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper in terms of run metres. His 15 line breaks and 15 off loads in contact weren’t too shabby either.

So now it is over to you. Vote in the poll and then plead your case below in the comments.

  • chief

    Will Genia, without a doubt. To me he was the actual player of the tournament.

    The last few rounds Fourie Du Preez certainly set the benchmark but Genia was far more consistent, and really left us wondering how else this 22 year old can progress.

  • Scarfman

    Great article, as per, Noddy.

    I like Sir William Genius in this event.

  • Joe Canuck

    I realize that this list is based on the previously posted Player of the Year per team, but you MUST make an exception and add Quade Cooper to this OZ player of the year list. He was just AMAZING this year. By far the best aussie of the S14

    • Noddy

      better than Genia?

  • Reddy!

    I think it could have been cool to throw in the official Super 14 player of the year for good measure. I think you would have found Genia to be the winner anyway.

    O’Connor is a worthy winner for the Force player of the yearr – he was the most important player in the team and every play and team decision revolved around him. Impressive for a 19 year old.

  • Joe Canuck

    Genia and Cooper are different players. I will give Genia the nod for being the go to guy, being consistent and reliable. But Cooper was pure excitement. His pass to Hynes to score a try against the Highlanders was unreal. And the almost try to Ben Lucas was exceptional as well.

  • D

    Genia by a long shot. The other three candidates put together still might not be able to compete with Sanchez’s season. His leadership skills in keeping a very young Reds side focused on a game plan. His vision and personal ability. I didn’t see too many or don’t recall too many off target, over the head, behind the player (aka the Burgess pass), and most of all, his ability to make Quade Cooper look like a player of substance.

  • sammy

    Trooper just pips Sanchez for me.

    Genia was more consistent, led the team by example and was a constent handful for the opposition while delivering perfect service to Cooper.

    That said – Cooper was the spark that re-ignited peoples interest in Super 14/Australian rugby. He single handely turned games around and did it with flair we haven’t seen since Larkham. The reds style made the super 14 for me and cooper was the key factor in that so he deserves the award he got for player of the season in my eyes. Hoping he can turn the wallabies into something people want to see just as much!

    • Conor

      ‘Cooper was the spark that re-ignited peoples interest in Super 14/Australian rugby. He single handely turned games around and did it with flair we haven’t seen since Larkham.’

      I’ll disagree, only because i think he could not have done half of it with genia.

      • sammy

        don’t get me wrong, Genia was awesome and no doubt 97% will vote for him. He gave cooper great ball but what cooper did with that ball was what the crowds came to/tuned in to see.

  • Darren

    You got it all wrong – you should have gone with the top 2 or 3 from each franchise. James O’Connor will not come close – but Hodgson/Pocock (even with missing half a season)/Sharpe just may have ….

    • Rugby Mad

      I agree Darren. O’Connor was far from his best this year. He was steady but hardly set the world on fire in any of his games this year. I’d say Sharpe or Hodgson had the best seasons, with Pocock having an impressive half a season.

      Exciting things to come from the Force next year if they can avoid the horror start to the season like this year. I predict that they will be top 4 next season. I know it’s a big call, but I’m happy to make it early.

      • ula

        no way, unless they get some great players to move there. i dont think hill is staying on is he?

        • WA Rugby Lover

          David Hill is returning to Japanese club Toshiba. I have not heard if he will return for the Force or if that was a one off deal to help out due to the injury pre-season on Marquee player Andre Pretorius.

          Ula – I know it’s a big call. But I hope to be proven right.

  • gouldie

    A saffa mate of mine keeps trying to convince me that Fourie Du Preez is the best scrum half in world rugby… I of course correct his gibberish and remind him that Will Genia is not only a great Australian, but a great Queenslander also

    • Alex-A

      True. Saffers really do love all that Fourie Du Preez chat dont they! Genia wins hands down. I challenge anyone to remember a time when sanchez had a bad game.

  • Dear Darren and the Quade lovers,

    If we’d wanted to set up a beauty contest for the here and now, I think you’d be right.

    But the point of the 3-2-1 system is that it captures how consistently players perform, which is great for people like me who can’t remember more than 5 rounds back.

    Voting throughout the season had already decided who was consistently the best for each team, this was the play off.

    • Well said Gagger…

      Which is why it would be fools gold for a back to win, they are nothing whithout ball, and where does that come from?

      It has to be Tatafu, they way he played (through injury and all) was enough.

      • Conor

        Fair enough, but where do points come from? (most of em anyway)

        The tahs have showed in previous years what happens when you have a strong pack with a stagnant back line.

        Saying backs shouldnt get to win is horseshit IMO.
        Truth is they can turn a game with a line break, cut out passes and conversions. Yes ateam wont score points without clean ball. A Team wont score points with a shithouse backline either.

        One can’t win without the other.

        • understand what your saying Conor, but mr Timms is right, Genia is getting praise for his forwards getting him fast ball. next year they should just lie all over it and slow it down so he takes the big tackles and fights for scraps. At least until its aknowledged that backs are a waste of time and having 15 forwards on the field would be progessive and go along way to australia winning the world cup.

  • Farva

    Will Genia by a country mile.

    I actually think that Matt Hodgson or Nathan Sharpe had better seasons than JOC, but given the kid is still 19, he is bloody amazing.

  • GC

    Easily Genia. Only Bekker shades him for player of the S14

  • Hawko

    Still think Hodgson performed better than anyone. He was way better than JOC, and his performances in a losing pack week after week were absolutely extraordinary. How he isn’t at 6 and Rocky at 8 this week is a mystery beyond comprehension.

    Hodgson aside, TPN was number 1. That is not to belittle Genia and Cooper, who were a relevation, but he who plays best when all around is going to custard, is the real champion.

  • Robson

    The problem I have here is comparing backs with forwards. It’s the old apples and oranges debate. But if there has to be a comparasion then the criteria for me is who got the most head turning attention. That, to my mind, has to be Cooper. Yes he got great service from Genia who made some marvelous runs himself and the work of TPN and the Rock was exceptional; but for sheer blazing, jump to your feet and scream brilliance, the man has to be Cooper.

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