It was fitting that the inaugural Phil Waugh Medal for the Buildcorp NRC man of the match went to an industrious number seven.
Perth Spirit’s young flanker, Richard Hardwick with the game of his life to help Perth Spirit secure their first national competition triumph.
“I was quite star-struck (getting the medal from Phil Waugh),” Hardwick said.
“As a young fella I watched him play and he’s just a hard man so to get this award it means a lot to me.”
Remarkably the 22-year-old has played the most matches of anyone for Perth Spirit with 24 appearances and was singled out by opposition captain Paddy Ryan when he spoke to rugby.com.au.
“It felt like we were running into a brick wall, their defence was incredible, full credit to Hardwick, he had an absolute blinder,” Ryan said.
In another backrow boost for the Western Force, Hardwick has recently been promoted from the academy to the Super Rugby squad for 2017 and proved he’s one to watch for the future.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling going out there and getting man of the match,” Hardwick said.
“Having that feeling when you put everything out there and it ends up with a win it’s a phenomenal feeling
“I came here with a job to play with my mates and just do my job and it’s very nice to get some recognition for that but I couldn’t do it without the support of the boys and my family. It’s awesome.”