Hooper is Australia's best again
NEWS: Wallabies vice-captain and flank Michael Hooper has claimed the 2016 John Eales Medal, winning the award for a second time.
Hooper's standout season saw the 24-year-old score four tries for the Wallabies in 2016 to be named Australia's man of the match in three out of the six domestic Tests.
Hooper was the clear leader of the 'player's player' three-two-one votes tally, amassing 296 points during the designated period from the pre-World Cup USA Test on September 5, 2015 to the final Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand on October22, 2016.
Despite injuries this year, David Pocock's incredible World Cup campaign elevated him to second position with 189 votes, finishing ahead of Bernard Foley, Will Genia and Israel Folau who rounded out the top five. In winning the John Eales Medal for a second time, Hooper follows in the footsteps of Israel Folau (2014, 2015), George Smith (2002, 2008) and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012) who have all won rugby's most prestigious award twice.
Hooper also scooped up the award for Australia's Choice Wallaby of the Year for the fourth year in a row, an incredible feat considering it is just his fifth year playing for the Wallabies.
Captain of the Men's Sevens Team and Australia's most-capped Sevens player, Ed Jenkins was named Men's Sevens Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, recognised for his valuable contribution during the team's best World Series season in four years.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver congratulated Hooper on winning the 2016 John Eales Medal.
"Michael has an enviable talent and is a wonderful ambassador for our game. Time and time again, he shows an unparalleled commitment to all that he does in the gold jersey. He thoroughly deserves to receive this accolade for the second time," he said.
"Over the past twelve months, Michael has been consistently one of the most impressive players in the world, and this was never more evident than during last year's World Cup when he combined masterfully with David Pocock to steer Australia to the final.
"Michael is still 24 but has shown than age is no barrier after having been named Australia's youngest Test captain in 2014. As vice-captain of the Wallabies this year he has helped to lead the team admirably. We are excited to see what Michael and his team mates can do on the field during the coming Grand Slam tour, and we know they will be doing all they can to make us proud."
Western Force fullback and recently-crowned Nathan Sharpe Medallist, Dane Haylett-Petty capped off his brilliant start to the 2016 Test season by adding the Wallabies Rookie of the Year award to his mantelpiece after playing 10 Tests this year.
After making more run metres and tackle busts than any other Australian forward during the 2016 Super Rugby season,Wallabies loose forward and Melbourne Rebels stalwart Sean McMahon was named Super Rugby Player of the Year. His teammate, 22-year-old utility back Reece Hodge was named Super Rugby Rookie of the Year.
Wallabies Assistant Coach Stephen Larkham collected the Super Rugby Coach of the Year award after leading the Brumbies to the qualifying finals. For topping the Australian Super Rugby conference, the Brumbies were named the Super Rugby Team of the Year.
After a stunning National Rugby Championship season for the Sydney Rays, Irae Simone was named best player of the 2016 National Rugby Championship.
New Melbourne Rebels recruit Tyrel Lomax took the gong as the Australian Under-20s Player of the Year after impressing during the Oceania U20 Championship matches against New Zealand and at the World Rugby U20 Championship in England.
Angus Gardner collected two trophies for Super Rugby Referee of the Series and the Roger Vanderfield Award for Referee of the Year.
2016 John Eales Medal Awards:
John Eales Medal: Michael Hooper
Wallabies Rookie of the Year: Dane Haylett-Petty
Wallabies Try of the Year: Drew Mitchell (most responsible for Adam Ashley-Cooper's try), Australia v Argentina, Twickenham Stadium, 2015 World Cup semifinal
Australia's Choice – Wallaby of the Year: Michael Hooper
Wallabies Hall of Fame: John ‘Jack’ Ford, John Solomon, Peter Johnson
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Sean McMahon, Melbourne Rebels
Super Rugby Team of the Year: Brumbies
Super Rugby Coach of the Year: Stephen Larkham, Brumbies
Super Rugby Rookie of the Year: Reece Hodge, Melbourne Rebels
Super Rugby Try of the Year: Nick Frisby (most responsible for Jake McIntyre's try), Queensland Reds v Blues, Suncorp Stadium, Round 4
Super Rugby Referee of the Series: Angus Gardner
National Rugby Championship Player of the Year: Irae Simone, Sydney Rays
Australian Under-20 Player of the Year: Tyrel Lomax
Shawn Mackay Award Men's Sevens Player of the Year: Ed Jenkins
Shawn Mackay Award Women's Sevens Player of the Year: Charlotte Caslick
Women's XVs Player of the Year: Ashleigh Hewson
Joe French Award: Alec Evans
Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award: Megan and Anthony Elliot
Roger Vanderfield Award - Referee of the Year: Angus Gardner
Volunteer of the Year: Deon Norval, Uni Norths Owls Rugby Club, ACT
Lifetime Volunteer of the Year: Dougal Whitton, Canberra Royals Rugby Club, ACT
Young Volunteer of the Year (U25): Hayden Croghan, Palmyra Rugby Club, WA
Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year: Kylie Dawson, Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School Rugby, Tamworth, NSW and NSW Central Norths Rugby