Pocock claims second John Eales Medal

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies flanker David Pocock has stormed home to win his second John Eales Medal.

Pocock missed last year's Spring Tour but his efforts in the June Series and the Rugby Championship saw him overtake the rest of the field in the back end of the season.

The 30-year-old finished 123 votes clear of a surprise runner-up in Lukhan Tui, while Dane Haylett-Petty finished third.

Scott Sio was in fourth with 124 votes ahead of winger Marika Koroibete.

Pocock said the award was in some ways an awkward one but admitted that being voted into the gong by his peers was a special achievement.

"It's a huge honour," he said.

"I think individual awards in team sports can be a bit awkward.

"Having said that, it is a massive honour.

"They're your teammates and the guys that you're out there alongside wanting to be dependable and not let anyone down, so to be acknowledged in that way is a huge honour and obviously to receive the medal from John Eales, he's a true legend of the game."

Hot pre-count favourites Will Genia and Israel Folau slid down the list, with the latter finishing outside the top three for the first time since switching to rugby in 2013.

David Pocock. Photo: Getty ImagesPocock last won the John Eales Medal in 2010 and joins Michael Hooper, Israel Folau and George Smith as the only players to have won multiple John Eales Medals.

The tireless flanker copped flak for his decision to take a sabbatical in 2017 when he was forced out of the start of Super Rugby with injury and he admitted he was unsure how things would pan out once he came back to Australian rugby.

"I guess everyone's got their opinion and you make a decision like that and not everyone's going to be happy," he said.

"I was a bit apprehensive about it too.

"I felt like it was what I wanted to do but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get back into good form and play for the Wallabies again.

"So, to do that is pleasing and very aware of the fact we've got another four big  games ahead of us and a break going into next year."

Evania Pelite took out the women's Sevens Player of the Year, stepping up when the team had a host of injuries, while rookie Ben O'Donnell took out the Men's Sevens Player of the Year. 

Emily Chancellor capped off a fantastic debut international season with the Women's XVs Player of the Year gong.

Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou took out two of the big awards on Friday night, claiming Super Rugby Player of the Year and Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year.

Flanker Fraser McReight took out the U20s Player of the Year.

Former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns was one of three Hall of Fame inductees, along with Eddie Bonis and Tim Gavin.

See how the night panned out here.


John Eales Medal 

David Pocock- 262

Lukhan Tui- 139

Dane Haylett-Petty - 132

Scott Sio - 124

Marika Koroibete - 110

Will Genia - 101

Sean McMahon- 89

Michael Hooper - 80

Tatafu Polota-Nau- 77

Sekope Kepu- 73

The Shawn MacKay Award – Men’s Sevens Player of the Year

Ben O’Donnell

The Shawn MacKay Award – Women’s Sevens Player of the Year

Evania Pelite

HSBC Volunteer of the Year

Ian Frame (Knox Rugby Club), Tilly Vlok (Box Hill Rugby Club)

Roger Vanderfield TNT Referee of the Year

Angus Gardner

Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award

Scott Fardy

Joe French Award

Ron Graham

Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year Award

Matthew Chapman (Miami State High)

Under 20s Player of the Year

Fraser McReight (Queensland)

Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year

Taniela Tupou (Qantas Wallabies)

Rugby Australia Try of the Year

Taqele Naiyaravoro vs Rebels (Round 5 – Super Rugby)

Buildcorp Super W Player of the Year

Shanice Parker (NSW Women)

Vodafone Super Rugby Player of the Year

Taniela Tupou (Queensland Reds)

Australia’s Choice – Qantas Wallaby of the Year

David Pocock

Buildcorp Women’s XVs Player of the Year

Emily Chancellor