Klemmer wins Brad Fittler Medal

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    David Klemmer has become just the second NSW player to claim the Brad Fittler medal despite coming off the bench for the entire State of Origin series.

    Klemmer was crowned the Blues’ player of the year on Monday night after a stirring campaign where he averaged the most metres of any forward in their series defeat.

    Not since NSW legend Steve Menzies took out the prestigious medal in 2006 has a Blues played won the award after playing as a substitute in all three games.

    Former Blues captain Kurt Gidley was the 2010 winner but started in the series-opener before being asked to ride the pine in favour of Jarryd Hayne at fullback.

    Voted on by the entire Blues squad, Klemmer outpolled fullback James Tedesco, who averaged 173 metres and tallied a combined 18 tackle busts and four line breaks across the series.

    Klemmer was involved in what was a messy aftermath to the series loss after then-coach Laurie Daley informed the prop that he would start ahead of Andrew Fifita in the decider.

    However Daley, whose contract has since not been renewed and was a notable absentee on Monday, backflipped on the decision and opted to keep Klemmer on the bench.

    Klemmer said he was honoured to take out the Fittler medal.

    “Growing up Brad Fittler was one of my idols and to accept the award named after him is a special moment,” Klemmer said on Monday.

    “I wouldn’t have received this award without the players around me. As a rugby league player you don’t necessarily think about individual honours but it’s nice to be recognised for my performance.”

    Blues rookie Jake Trbojevic, who was considered a dark horse to take the prize, won The Daily Telegraph’s People’s Choice award and the True Blue award for displaying strong team culture.

    Caitlin Moran won the women’s premiership player of the rear, while Simaima Taufa claimed the NSW women’s state player of the year award.

    © AAP 2017

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