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By Force Media Unit
Departing captain David Pocock has taken out the 2012 Emirates Western Force Player of the Year Award at the club’s annual Award’s Evening at the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth tonight.
Pocock polled 261 votes, finishing ahead of retiring inaugural captain Nathan Sharpe (210) and recently appointed club captain Matt Hodgson (196).
The Wallabies openside flanker, who missed the final two matches with a groin strain, polled votes in each fixture he contested for the Emirates Western Force, claiming top the most votes on five occasions.
The 24-year-old recorded a season high 49 votes (of a possible 66) for his Week Two performance against the Reds in Brisbane.
“With rugby being a team sport, I’m a little bit uncomfortable with individual awards, but when it’s voted on by your teammates that’s really special,” Pocock said. “They’re the ones you’re working hard for, the ones you need to impress and that’s where the enjoyment comes from.
“You’d always trade in a man of the match or any sort of accolades for a win but to be voted for by your peers over a season is special.
“There are definitely mixed emotions tonight. I’ve loved my time at the Force but now that’s come to an end and now it’s about hanging out with the guys I’ve been playing with for a long time.
Front-rower Pek Cowan (178) and winger Nick Cummins (176), who both played their 50th FxPro Super Rugby match for the Emirates Western Force in 2012, finished in fourth and fifth respectively, while outside back Alfie Mafi was recognised for his consistent season with 147 votes.
The Emirates Western Force Player of the Year Award is determined by each member of the match day 22 voting for their peers on a 3, 2, 1 voting system.
In the night’s other awards, lock Toby Lynn marked his first season with the Emirates Western Force by claiming the Force Man Award for the player who exhibits the club’s ethos and values in every aspect of their performance on the rugby field and in the community.
Lynn, who joined the Emirates Western Force from the Chiefs this season, played all but one game in 2012 and scored his maiden FxPro Super Rugby try in Week 16 against the Brumbies.
Rising star Salesi Manu, who joined the club as part of the Extended Playing Squad this season, made the most of the opportunities presented to him at tighthead prop to take out the Rising Star Award.
Manu made his FxPro Super Rugby debut off the bench in Week 10 against the Stormers before adding a further six caps to his tally, including run-on starts for the final three matches of the season in the absence of injured Wallabies front-rower Salesi Ma’afu.
Outside back and crowd favourite Nick Cummins was acknowledged for one of his most impressive and consistent provincial seasons by the Emirates Western Force members in receiving the Members’ Most Valuable Player Award.
Inaugural Gold member, Tony Barker, presented the award to the current Wallaby training squad member after winning the opportunity by voting on the Members’ MVP during the 2012 season.
2012 Emirates Western Force Award Winners
Player of the Year: David Pocock
Force Man: Toby Lynn
Rising Star: Salesi Manu
Members’ MVP: Nick Cummins
2012 Emirates Western Force Player of the Year Award – Top 10
1. David Pocock 261
2. Nathan Sharpe 210
3. Matt Hodgson 196
4. Pek Cowan 178
5. Nick Cummins 176
6. Alfie Mafi 147
7. Nathan Charles 122
8. Toby Lynn 115
9. Brett Sheehan 93
10. Napolioni Nalaga 88
Emirates Western Force Player of the Year – Honour Roll
2012 David Pocock
2011 David Smith
2010 Matt Hodgson
2009 Matt Hodgson
2008 Ryan Cross
2007 Matt Giteau
2006 Scott Staniforth