Izaia Perese wins Matt Burke Cup after breakout Waratahs season

Sun, 10/10/2021, 09:28 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
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Waratahs centre Izaia Perese has been rewarded for his breakout season, winning the Matt Burke Cup as the side’s best player in 2021 at the club's awards night.

Perese had a nightmare debut, sent off in the opening game of Super Rugby AU against his old side Reds.

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However, he would emphatically make up for it on his return, producing an incredible run of form that saw him lead the side in tackle busts despite playing in just nine of 13 games.

The 24-year-old was named in the Wallabies side to travel on the Spring Tour after a dislocated shoulder forced him to withdraw from the France series.

Fellow Wallaby squad member Lachie Swinton was named Best Forward whilst Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon was named Best Back after his strong finish to the Trans-Tasman season saw him named starting scrumhalf for the Wallabies in the opening Test of 2021.

Lock Max Douglas was awarded the Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Medal after stepping up on debut in a pack decimated by injury as Easts standout Teddy Wilson won the Dave Dennis Elite Youth Development Player of the Year.


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Meanwhile, flyhalf Arabella McKenzie has taken out the Super W Player of the Year award.

McKenzie was the leading point scorer in the competition with 39 points, 15 of which came in the final as the Waratahs won their fourth straight title.

Margot Vella was named Rookie of the Year after scoring three tries in three matches in her debut season, including two in the final.

Along with this, Maya Stewart took out Super W’s Best Back after a blistering season on the wing with a comp-high seven tries whilst the ever-reliable Emily Chancellor was named Best Forward.

2021 NSW Waratahs Awards:

Super W Rookie of the Year – Margot Vella

Super W Best Back – Maya Stewart

Super W Best Forward – Emily Chancellor

Super W Player of the Year – Arabella McKenzie

Dave Dennis Youth Player of the Year – Teddy Wilson

Chris Whitaker Aspiring Waratah Medal – Max Douglas

Super Rugby Best Back – Jake Gordon

Super Rugby Best Forward – Lachlan Swinton

Matt Burke Cup – Izaia Perese

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