All league players 'eligible for award' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All league players 'eligible for award'

By Steve Jancetic 20/09/2006 07:59:09 PM Comments (0)

The Rugby League Players Association says it will not exclude any NRL star from winning its prized player of the year award on the basis of membership status.

The RLPA was forced into damage control Wednesday after a News Limited report claimed that retired Manly captain Ben Kennedy had been stripped of the award because he had not paid his union fees.

News Limited made the assertion after what was believed to be a final pointscore, which showed Kennedy as the winner ahead of Cronulla lock Paul Gallen and Parramatta backrower Nathan Hindmarsh, was put up on the RLPA's website before being hastily removed.

The newspaper report claimed Hindmarsh would be named as the player's player of the year at a gala ceremony in Sydney next Friday because neither Kennedy, who retired after last week's semi-final loss to St George Illawarra, nor Gallen had paid their $1600 union fees.

But RLPA chief executive Matthew Rodwell denied the figures posted momentarily on the website were in fact correct, while also hosing down rumours that players would be overlooked if they had not paid their fees.

"To gain the respect and admiration of your opposition is (the) ultimate accolade," Rodwell said.

"That is why RLPA awards will be determined by the players' votes, not by their RLPA membership status."

Rodwell would not confirm whether or not Hindmarsh had in fact won the award and whether Kennedy had been overlooked.

"We look forward to announcing all eight winners next week, at what is sure to be a great night," he said.

A technical glitch was blamed for the unveiling of the incomplete tallies on the website with Rodwell confirming a final audit of the votes was still underway.

When votes went behind closed doors after round 20, Kennedy was seven points ahead of New Zealand Warriors prop Ruben Wiki and 11 in front of Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus.

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