Sharpe takes top Wallaby award - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharpe takes top Wallaby award

By Jim Morton 23/07/2007 10:59:50 PM Comments (0)

Shaven-headed lock Nathan Sharpe's all-round game and consistency has seen him win the Wallabies' best player award named after his childhood hero.

Sharpe finished as runner-up to fullback Chris Latham in 2006, but went one better this year to take out his first John Eales Medal.

The 29-year-old Western Force skipper was a comfortable victor, polling 170 votes to win from No.8 Wycliff Palu (134) and prop Guy Shepherdson (131).

Sharpe started in all but one of the 11 Tests played over the voting period, missing only the June 9 Test against Fiji in Perth when he was rested.

The 3-2-1 votes that determine the John Eales Medallist were taken from every member of the Wallabies' match 22 after every Test dating back to last year's Spring Tour.

Sharpe is the fifth forward to win Australian rugby's top honour and joins Latham, Jeremy Paul, David Lyons, Phil Waugh and George Smith as John Eales Medallists.

Brumbies fullback Julian Huxley capped the best 12 months of his up-and-down rugby career by being recognised as the 2007 Wallabies' rookie of the year.

Unwanted by Queensland after last season's Super 14, Huxley gained his Test debut in June against Wales and started in six straight Tests before missing Saturday's Bledisloe Cup/Tri-Nations decider with a thigh injury.

The 27-year-old is the oldest of the four debutants to have won Test honours in the past year and is also the oldest recipient of the award.

Skipper Stirling Mortlock won the try of the year award for his match-winning midfield break and run to send Scott Staniforth over for a 20-15 victory over the All Blacks at the MCG on June 29.

Receiving the ball near half-way from a Stephen Larkham cut-out pass, Mortlock stepped Luke McAlister, broke out of a Richie McCaw tackle and then drew three defenders before delivering an over-the-top pass to Staniforth.

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