Electrifying Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues fullback James Tedesco has tonight (10 September) been crowned the 2018 Brad Fittler Medal winner following an impressive State of Origin campaign in which he made more tackle breaks and post-contact metres than any other player across the three-game series.
Tedesco, who is enjoying a stellar season with NRL minor premiers the Sydney Roosters, made 25 tackle breaks and ran for 504m, including 145.3 post-contact metres, after starting in all three games for NSW. He finished ahead of team-mate Josh Addo-Carr (22) in tackle breaks; and edged out Queensland winger Dane Gagai (145.2m) and Maroons captain Greg Inglis (138.8m) in post-contact metres.
Tedesco started the 2018 series at the MCG in Melbourne in devastating form with Man of the Match honours and a State of Origin record 17 tackle busts, beating a 28-year-old record held by Queensland fullback Gary Belcher who notched 16 in 1990, also in Melbourne.
Tedesco accepted the state’s top award, the Brad Fittler Medal, in front of more than 600 guests at The Star Event Centre, on a night that recognised the achievements of players across all NSWRL teams and competitions, from Origin to seniors, juniors, women and Indigenous, as well as the contributions of referees and club officials.
The 25-year-old was chosen for the 14th annual Brad Fittler Medal by his team-mates, who voted 3-2-1 after each match. Previous winners include David Klemmer (2017), Josh Jackson (2016), Josh Dugan (2015), Jarryd Hayne (2007, 2009, 2014), Ryan Hoffman (2014), Paul Gallen (2011) and Danny Buderus (2008).
Tedesco said: “I’m very honoured to receive this award … I’m so happy to have won the series, I loved every minute of it. This Medal tops it all off.
“It’s definitely one of the best years of my life… We didn’t often look at the papers or read the articles… but now that it’s all said and done, it’s pretty special to reflect.”
In his debut year winger Tom Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles) claimed the True Blue Award, won last year by brother Jake, for the player who displays qualities upon which the team culture is built.
Another debutant, hooker Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), won The Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award, chosen by Blues supporters in an online vote.
Origin stars shared the stage with some of the state’s rising talent as Parramatta’s Trey Mooney won the Under-16 NSW State Player of the Year, Shawn Blore (Penrith Panthers) claimed the Under-18 award, while St George Illawarra’s Reece Robson was named the Under-20 NSW State Player of the Year.
Simaima Taufa (Mounties) was recognised for her outstanding form, taking out the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Player of the Year, while Isabelle Kelly (CRL Newcastle) claimed the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s State of Origin Player of the Year for her performance in the state’s victory over Queensland in the inaugural women’s Origin event.
In the senior competitions, which will be decided on NSWRL Grand Final Weekend at Leichhardt Oval later this month (22-23 September), Player of the Year Awards were won by: Caleb Aekins (Penrith Panthers), Intrust Super Premiership NSW; Beau Fermor (Newcastle Knights), Jersey Flegg Cup; Beau Henry (Wentworthville Magpies), Ron Massey Cup; and Damien Lawler (Belrose Eagles), Sydney Shield.
List of Award Winners
Award Winner Club
U16 NSW State Player of the Year Trey Mooney Parramatta Eels
U18 NSW State Player of the Year Shawn Blore Penrith Panthers
U20 NSW State Player of the Year Reece Robson St George Illawarra Dragons
Junior Representative Referee of the Year Paul Eden
Grade Referee of the Year Todd Smith
Ray Stellar Award (Club Person of the Year Award) Stuart McCarthy Newtown Jets
KARI Indigenous Achievement Award Billy Burke Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Player of the Year Simaima Taufa Mounties
Sydney Shield Player of the Year Damien Lawler Belrose Eagles
Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year Beau Henry Wentworthville Magpies
Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year Player of the Year Beau Fermor Newcastle Knights
Intrust Super Premiership NSW Player of the Year Caleb Aekins Penrith Panthers
Harvey Norman NSW Women’s State of Origin Player of the Year Isabelle Kelly CRL Newcastle
The Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award Damien Cook South Sydney Rabbitohs
True Blue Award Tom Trbojevic Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Brad Fittler Medal James Tedesco Sydney Roosters