RUPA award reflects growth of women's rugby: Caslick

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Charlotte Caslick beat out a Wallaby-dominated field to win the RUPA People's choice award last year and it's an achievement she says shows where women's rugby sits in the pecking order.

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper won the inaugural award in 2016, when it was brought in as the Wallaby of the Year, before it was opened up to both men's and women's XVs, and Sevens players.

Caslick took out the gong in the first year that it was opened up, beating out a host of Wallabies and other high-profile players to get the nod.

The 23-year-old said the vote showed how much her team had done in building the reputation of women's sport since their 2016 Rio gold medal.

"It was quite a good year for our team as well and showed where women’s sport is and that it is going in the right direction in Australia and in general the recognition meant more for the team as much as just me," she said.

"I think the shift in people’s perceptions since I started is massive, we're slowly getting recognised more and more since Rio and we want to continue to get better and better."

Three women are nominated for the award this year with Vani Pelite and Emilee Cherry from the Aussie Sevens and Wallaroos and Uni 7s star Emily Chancellor in the mix.

That the award is open to all top-level players was something Caslick said they all appreciated.

"I think that’s one thing the RUPA awards really do well is putting it all together," she said.

"It’s great we get recognised alongside the Wallabies."

The people's choice award is one of a number of gongs handed out at the RUPA lunch, most of which are voted on by players and Caslick said it meant the most to be honoured by peers.

"Most awards aren't chosen by your peers but they're the ones you really get to have a say in personally and that means the most to a lot of the players recognized," she said.

"It's great to be recognized by the players that play alongside you and the public, and something that's not chosen by coaches and commentators is different."

Voting closes for the Taylor's Wines People's Choice Player of the Year at midnight on Thursday December 6, with the winner to be announced at next week's RUPA Awards lunch.

NOMINEES

2018 Taylor's Wines People's Choice Player of the Year nominee

Ben O'Donnell

Dane Haylett-Petty

Lewis Holland

Emily Chancellor

Emilee Cherry

David Pocock

Vani Pelite

Izack Rodda

Michael Hooper

Will Genia