University of Queensland outside back Kye Oates and Sunnybank playmaker Liam McNamara have been named joint recipients of the 2021 Alec Evans medal (Player of the Year), ahead of this Sunday’s Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup Grand Final.
Oates, who will run on for UQ in this weekend’s decider, helped his side to the minor premiership as well as their sixth-straight Grand Final appearance.
The outside back polled 15 votes throughout the season, finishing equal with McNamara and one-point ahead of Brothers fullback Nate Carroll.
Oates said: “To receive the award is a massive honour.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work this year and the boys have been playing well.
“We really got stuck in during the pre-season, especially after the loss to Easts in the Grand Final last season which really stung us.
“We definitely want to go one better this year and it’s been a massive driving force for us.”
After suffering numerous serious injuries in recent years, McNamara was a shining light for Sunnybank throughout their entire 2021 campaign, captaining the side from fullback and flyhalf.
McNamara said: “It’s a great honour to win the award this season for all the hard work you put in, it’s always nice to be acknowledged.
“I’d like to thank my teammates and coaching staff at Sunnybank, ultimately they let me get to this position.
“It’s always tough with injuries, but after a lot of hard work behind the scenes I’m glad to be back out there and doing what I love.”
Wong joined her Sunnybank clubmate McNamara in winning a player of the year award after another strong season with the Dragons in the Premier Women’s competition.
The Queensland winger scored an equal competition high 10 tries for the Bankers, as the side qualified for the finals in second place.
Wong said: “I didn’t expect this, so this I’m kind of shocked at the moment.
“This season was a pretty big one for me, leading into Super W I feel like club Rugby was a really big part in me playing well and consistently.
“It’s a proud thing for the club, we’re pretty happy.”
GPS fullback Floyd Aubrey was named U20s player of the year and will run on for the Gallopers in this week’s Colts 1 final against Easts at Suncorp Stadium.
In just his first year out of school at Marist College Ashgrove, the elusive fullback from Murgon has helped reinvigorate the GPS Colts program while also making his Premier Grade debut for the Gallopers.
He joins an illustrious list of previous award winners including current Queensland Reds Harry Wilson, Mac Grealy, Josh Flook and Hamish Stewart.
“I’m grateful,” said Aubrey.
“The club has been very welcoming, I know a lot of the boys from school so I already had that culture and connection which made it a lot easier.
“Seeing all of those young fellas (Wilson and Grealy) roll through, hopefully I can be one of them one day.”
The University of Queensland were crowned minor premiers, with skipper Pat Morrey receiving the Horsley Trophy, while GPS collected the Bunter Bowl and Welsby Cup.
Brothers fullback Nate Carroll finished as the competition’s top point scorer, with Kye Oates’ younger brother BJ topping the try-scoring charts with 13 five-pointers for the season.
Easts claimed their second consecutive Doughty Shield as club champions.
Suncorp Stadium will play host to the Hopsital Challenge Cup, Premier Women’s and Colts 1 Grand Finals this Sunday 5 September, while Sunnybank Rugby Club will host the Lower Grades and Colts deciders on Saturday.
The Hospital Challenge Cup decider will be broadcast LIVE via 9Gem and Stan Sport, while both the Women’s and Colts 1 Grand Finals will be broadcast on Stan Sport.