George Smith announced as G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year 2009
Rugby

The winner: G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year

The winner: G&GR Wallaby Player of the Year
Overcome by emotion

Smith: overcome with emotion

What a tremendous end to the season, both for the Wallabies and for this competition. Those who have been following the points tally may well be aware that the competition came down to the very last test against Wales.

As a reminder, after every test of the season Green and Gold Rugby readers at the forum assigned 3-2-1 points to their top three Wallaby performers per game. These points were then tallied each game with an ultimate top three players, a Man of the Match and two runners up, being decided.  This award is the accumulation of those points.

All in all there were fifteen different players who polled points, and we had three different players taking home the series awards.  George Smith won the Domestic Test Series award, Benn Robinson claimed the Tri-Nations award whilst David Pocock snagged the Spring Tour award in a count back from Wycliff Palu. But in the end it was the most experienced man in the Wallaby camp, George Smith who took out the ultimate award.

Hear his acceptance speech when Gagger presented him with this prestigious and highly coveted award:

In a tight finish Smith held off loose head prop Benn Robinson to take out the ultimate award. Fat Cat Robinson perhaps suffered from his own success not receiving a single vote on the Spring Tour. Perhaps our readers have just come to expect his brilliance every game that we now judge him more harshly? Regardless, it is hard to suggest there has been a more consistent player than George Smith throughout the season.

Smith starred right from the start picking up a Man of the Match award against France to enable him to win the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Domestic Test Series.  Whilst Robinson starred in the Tri-Nations, being judged the best Wallaby everytime they played the Springboks, Smith continued to impress. Maximum points against the All Blacks in both Auckland and Sydney had Smith finish runner-up to Robinson in the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Tri-Nations, despite player ‘out of position’ with the 8 on his back.

When the Wallabies arrived in Tokyo for the start of the Spring Tour both Smith and Robinson were dead even on 13 points each, Robinson receiving all of his in the Tri-Nations.  With Robinson in form and Smith seemingly out of favour and starting on the bench, the good money was on the Wallaby Loose Head Prop to take home the title. But that would underestimate the determination and sheer professionalism and commitment of Smith.

With the young bull, David Pocock, playing out of his skin and picking up the Player of the Match gong against Ireland, Smith knew he had to take his chances whenever he got them. A single point against Scotland, a match in which Robinson went off injured, gave George a slim edge.  Robinson’s gutsy effort to play against Wales though, would throw down the challenge. Who would come out on top? Robinson put in a monstor effort, in cohorts with fellow prop Ben Alexander.  And although Pocock again would be named Man of the Match, it was Smith’s role off the bench in continuing the breakdown carnage started by Pocock, that would see him pick up another point.

The final table stands as follows:

Place Player Points
1st George Smith 15
2nd Benn Robinson 13
3rd Adam Ashley-Cooper 10
4th David Pocock 9
5th Will Genia 7
Wycliff Palu 7
7th Matt Giteau 5
8th Stephen Moore 4
Rocky Elsom 4
10th Luke Burgess 3
11th Berrick Barnes 2
Mark Chisholm 2
13th James Horwill 1
Drew Mitchell 1
Quade Cooper 1
  • Bobas

    George’s co-workers will be so dirty they got overlooked for the award.

    Awesome article, agree entirely with the top 6 players on that list.

    Although what’s going on in the forum, no votes for benn this tour and how did chis get two?

  • DPK

    did any players recieve no votes at all? if so, which ones?

    • I’m surprised to see Chisolm got two points and TPN the big donut.. TPN was absolutely bruising during the whole season.

    • No JOC.. the debut hat-trick never amounted to anything substantial.. except for some monumental brain melts against the kiwis

    • Cross who?

      • Gary

        How dare you not give the award to Gits? Don’t you know that you can’t write anything about Rugby without saying what a superstar he is? If you have any doubt what a superstar he is and how central to everything Wallaby the boy is just ask Gits.

        Seriously, well done George and Bam

  • JJJ

    Classic pic.

    I’m certainly not begrudging George the award, but I agree it’s odd that Fatcat got no votes whatsoever on the Spring tour. He was the key member of a Wallabies front-row which finally dominated all comers up north.

    On the other hand, it’s probably for the best. Giving him the GAGRWPOTY award would surely have created jealousy and strife once his front-row colleagues found out about it. They’re only human after all.

    • Wagga Magpie

      GAGRWPOTY – isn’t that a village near Swansea?

  • Who Needs Melon

    By his own admission he DID have an up and down year. Considering he still topped this table, it shows (a) how good he is and (b) how few other contenders there were for most of the year.

    If Genia and Pocock had had more of a run then they would have obviously won this.

    He’s a very quiet, sensible humble guy. A steadying elder statesman in the team now. Despite this I think he was never the right choice as captain and I think we will see a better George Smith without the pressure of having the captaincy.

  • Newb

    that’s a sweet ‘stache. very dirty.

    and if he ever did slot a droppie i might shit myself. but i’d love it. JUST DON’T MISS!!

  • Ralph

    this resting of Pocock for the easier matches is going to cost him these big awards including the John Eales Medal next year

  • hillston hog

    Its a great situation when you have a player win an award like this – and he is bench player !!
    Bam is the first pick and will be till injured (or rotated).
    Nothing away from George – brilliant player but he is the 2nd best in Oz at the moment.

  • Nabley

    Smith was once the best but not now. He is still good but not the best. The best this year without a doubt is Genia. Unfortunately he did not play all the games due to an injury, but when he arrived he was something else. It really brings into question the system of selection.

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