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The Emirates Western Force has unveiled the Nathan Sharpe Medal that will be awarded for the first time at its annual Awards Night on Saturday, 27 July at Crown Casino.
The medal will replace the previous Emirates Western Force’s Player of the Year Award, recognising the club’s most valuable player for that season. The award is determined by each member of the match day 22 voting for their peers on a 3, 2, 1 basis.
Sharpe, who retired last year, was the inaugural captain of the Emirates Western Force and previously held the record for most games (92) across seven seasons at the club – a record eclipsed this season by current Emirates Western Force captain Matt Hodgson.
In addition to etching out a stellar provincial career across a competition record 162 Super Rugby matches, Sharpe remains the Wallabies’ most-capped Test forward (116 Tests) and second only to George Gregan (139) on Australia’s all-time list of matches.
Sharpe’s 11-year international career saw him play three Rugby World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011) and was recognised in 2007 and 2012 with the John Eales Medal for the Wallabies’ player of the year.
Previous winners of the Emirates Western Force player of the year include Hodgson (2009 & 2010), Scott Staniforth (2006), Matt Giteau (2007), Ryan Cross (2008), David Smith (2011) and David Pocock (2012).
Sharpe says he’s honoured to be recognised in such a way by his beloved club.
“While I may have retired from playing with the Emirates Western Force last season they remain my club for life,” he said. “To be recognised in this way, I couldn’t think of a more humbling accolade.
“I’ve been impressed by what Michael Foley, Matt Hodgson and the team have achieved this season, particularly around their standards and culture.
“They’ve laid a very solid foundation to build on next season and I’m very excited about what the Force can achieve next season and beyond.”
RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry says the Nathan Sharpe Medal aims to honour the legacy that Sharpe provided the club and to inspire the player’s to achieve greatness.
“While our club has undergone considerable transition in the past 12 months, it’s important that we continue to acknowledge the history of the Emirates Western Force and Nathan Sharpe was such an integral piece of that history,” he said.
“The medal recognises the player that has consistently performed at their best throughout the season as voted by their teammates and Nathan’s leadership and efforts on the field during his time in the Force jersey was a true reflection of what this medal signifies.”
Other awards to be presented at the Emirates Western Force Awards Night, include Rising Star, Force Man and Members MVP.
Tickets for Emirates Western Force Awards Night are still available. Click here for more details or to book your ticket/s.
Name: Nathan Sharpe
Super Rugby caps: 162 (92 Emirates Western Force, 70 Queensland Reds)
Super Rugby points: 30 (6t)
Test caps: 116
Test points: 40 (8t)
Representative Rugby: 2003, 2007, 2011 Rugby World Cup, 2002-2012 Wallabies, 2006-2012 Emirates Western Force, 1999-2005 Queensland Reds, 1997 Australian Under 21, 1996 Australia Under 19
Awards: 2012 Australia’s Choice – Wallabies Player of the Year, 2012 Nick Farr-Jones Award (Spirit of Rugby), 2007 & 2012 John Eales Medal, 2010 Emirates Western Force Members’ Most Valued Player, 2008 Emirates Western Force Players’ Player, 2005 Wallaby Team of the Decade, 2003 Super 12 Player of the Year (The Australian), 2002 Australian Rugby Medal for Excellence
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!