Schatz takes Reds gongs
Sat, 31 Aug 2013 08:05
Reds loose forward Jake Schatz won both the Pilecki Medal and the Most Improved award at the Queensland Reds Gala Ball.
The Pilecki Medal is voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the players following each game of the season, and 2013 has seen the Reds forwards dominate the voting.
"Jake has been a consistent performer for Queensland over the last two years," said Reds head coach Richard Graham.
"Jake is a very proud Queenslander and has already racked up 50 Reds caps. He is only 23 and he will be around for many years to come to help Queensland achieve our Super Rugby ambitions.
"Any award voted on by your peers is the one you cherish the most, and it's great to see Jake rewarded by his teammates with the Pilecki medal," he added.
Schatz finished the season with an impressive tally of 269 votes, followed closely by backrow partner Liam Gill on 262, and 2012 winner James Slipper on 227.
With 269 votes, Schatz has recorded the second highest votes tally in the history of the medal, with James Slipper's 272 vote effort in 2012 still the highest.
Eddie Quirk polled the highest individual round score, with 48 individual votes in the Reds 25-17 round two win over the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.
Schatz was also awarded by the Reds coaches for his efforts during the 2013 season with the Most Improved Player award.
"The team values Jake's understanding of the No.8 role, his work ethic, his improving ability to read the game and his outstanding aerial skills.
"Jake always contributes 100 per cent to preparing himself for a game as well as assisting his teammates," Graham added.
Queensland and Australian Rugby legend Toutai Kefu was previously the only No.8 to win the award. Schatz becomes the second, and also the second ever Sunnybank player to win the award with Rodney Blake the first in 2006.
Liam Gill, who polled second overall for the Pilecki medal, is this year's People's Choice Award winner, as voted by Queensland Reds fans.
"Liam is one of the most exciting young players in Australian rugby. He has proven to be one of the best pilferers in the game.
"Liam is just 21-years-old and already has three years of Super Rugby under his belt. He is now in his second year of Test rugby, he?s going to be one of the keys to this team's success," said Graham.
Former Australian Schoolboy and current Australian Under 20's Captain Curtis Browning was named Rookie of the Year.
Browing had an outstanding season where he built from playing Queensland Premier Rugby to captaining his country and earning his first Queensland cap against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium, where he helped the Reds claim the 23-18 win.
"Curtis is one of our most promising young players.
"His size and strength for a player of his age is impressive and he has a big future in the game,? Graham added.
The Queensland Reds squad for the 2014 season was also announced. Captain James Horwill and Vice-Captain Will Genia will lead the Reds and the squad will include mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper, prop James Slipper, Anthony and Saia Faingaa, and Gill.
"While there has been some movement within the squad, we have retained the core group that has delivered Queensland Rugby success over the past three seasons," said Graham.
"Something the organisation has worked hard on is establishing a culture within the squad that the players enjoy and want to be a part of.
"As far as we're concerned 2014 has already begun and we're determined to win more Super Rugby silverware," he added.
Four key members of the squad have re-signed with the Reds for a further two years with James Hanson, Beau Robinson, Albert Anae, and Dave McDuling all committing to the Reds until the end of 2015.
Prop Ben Daley has inked a contract until the end of the 2016 season, while Jono Owen and Chris Feauai-Sautia have re-signed until the end of 2014.
Reds squad: Saia Faingaa, James Hanson, Albert Anae, Ben Daley, Greg Holmes, James Slipper, Jono Owen, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Ed O'Donoghue, Ed Quirk, Dave McDuling, Liam Gill, Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz, Curtis Browning, Will Genia, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Ben Tapuai, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Rod Davies, Dom Shipperley, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, Aidan Toua.
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