Former Force and now Brumbies backrower Isi Naisarani has become the first rookie winner of the RUPA medal of excellence, announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Naisarani’s win caps off a super debut season for the no. 8, who also won the Force’s Nathan Sharpe Medal as player’s player of the year.
The 22-year-old, who becomes eligible for the Wallabies in 2019, earned 87 votes in the final tally, edging out Malbourne’s Amanaki Mafi (78), Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa (69) and winger Henry Speight (64).
Rebels winger Marika Koroibete took out the Newcomer of the Year, besting a strong group of rookies this year to take out the gong.
Aussie Sevens halfback Charlotte Caslick proved her popularity winning the Taylor's Wines People's Choice National Player of the Year, the first time the award has included players across all of Australia's national teams.
James Dargaville was given the Academic Achievement Award, after incredibly completing a Sydney University Civil Engineering degree, despite being based in Canberra since 2015.
Waratahs prop Matt Sandell and Brumbies hooker Robbie Abel shared the spoils of the Community Service Award, who have made significant contributions off the field as much as on this year.
Canberra Vikings captain Tom Cusack's sensational NRC season was rewarded by his peers as well, the flanker taking out the players' player of the year.
Sevens veteran James Stannard was voted the men's sevens Players' Player of the Year after takign the Shawn Mackay award at the Rugby Australia awards in October, while Chloe Dalton also made it a 2017 double, winning the women's sevens Players' Player of the Year.
Medal of Excellence: Isi Naisarani
Newcomer of the Year: Marika Koroibete
People’s Choice Australian Player of the Year: Charlotte Caslick
Academic Award: James Dargaville
Community Service Award: Robbie Abel and Matt Sandell
NRC Players’ Player of the Year: Tom Cusack
Men's Sevens Players' Player of the Year: James Stannard
Women's Sevens Players' Player of the Year: Chloe Dalton OAM