Wallabies flyer Marika Koroibete has created history by becoming the first wing to win the John Eales Medal at the Rugby Australia Awards in Sydney.
Koroibete saw off competition from fellow Fijian-born back Samu Kerevi, polling 200 votes from his Wallabies teammates, 50 more than blockbusting centre Kerevi.
The former Melbourne Storm rugby league star switched to union in 2017, and in just three seasons has become one of the best finishers in the game, producing standout performances at the World Cup in Japan.
The Melbourne Rebels speedster – who scored seven tries in eleven games in 2019 – finished off a spectacular solo effort against Georgia in Shizuoka and also featured prominently in terms of clean breaks at the World Cup, before Australia’s elimination at the quarter-final stage.
Japan-bound midfielder Kerevi received the award for Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year, while talented Reds utility back Jordan Petaia was named Rookie of the Year on the back of promising performances in Japan. The highly rated 19-year-old capped his Test debut with a try against Uruguay and was a standout performer in the first half of the quarter-final loss to England.
Captain Michael Hooper won the ‘Australia’s choice’ fan vote as Wallaby of the Year, while legendary halfback pairing George Gregan and current Munster backline coach Stephen Larkham were inducted into the Wallabies Hall of Fame.
Rugby Australia 2019 Award Winners
John Eales Medal: Marika Koroibete
Referee of the Year: Nic Berry
Junior Wallabies Player of the Year: Fraser McReight
Rookie of the Year: [Women] Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and [Men] Jordan Petaia
Try of the Year: Nic White
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Samu Kerevi.
Super W Player of the Year: Tayla Stanford
Wallaroos Player of the Year: Grace Hamilton
Men’s Sevens Player of the Year: Maurice Longbottom
Women’s Sevens Player of the Year: Charlotte Caslick
Photo: Jason McCawley/Getty Images