Kurtley Beale wins the John Eales Medal

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    Kurtley Beale’s growing importance to the Wallabies was emphasised on Thursday, with the mercurial fullback winning the John Eales Medal voted on by his teammates.

    Initially a five-eighth when he entered the Super Rugby ranks with the Waratahs in 2007, Beale has flourished since moving to fullback last year.

    He polled 127 votes, five more than hooker Stephen Moore, with openside flanker and last year’s winner David Pocock a further 22 back in third place.

    Lock and newly appointed Wallabies captain James Horwill finished fourth on 96, despite missing last year’s spring tour through injury, with halfback Will Genia fifth on 78.

    Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by all 22 members of each Australian match day squad over the past 12 months.

    Beale 22, polled votes in all but two of the Tests over that period.

    His elusive running set up numerous tries and scoring opportunities, while his goalkicking contribution was highlighted by a long range last gasp match winning penalty against South Africa in Bloemfontein in 2010.

    The medal win capped of a spectacular 12 months for Beale.

    He won the Wallabies Rookie and Try of the Year awards in 2010, and was also one of the five nominees for the International Rugby Board Player of the Year award.

    Genia, who had already won the Queensland and Australian Super Player of the Year awards, was named the Australia’s Choice Wallabies Player of the Year.

    Brumbies utility back Pat McCabe, who has started at inside centre in all five of Australia’s Tests this year, collected the Rookie of the Year award, after making his debut off the bench against Italy late last year.

    New Wallabies cult hero Radike Samo added further lustre to his status by winning the Try of the Year for his stunning 60-metre solo effort against New Zealand last weekend.

    Other winners included Bernard Foley (Sevens Player of the Year), Shannon Parry (Women’s Player of the Year) and Michael Hooper (Under 20 Player of the Year).

    New Zealander Steve Walsh, who will shortly officiate at his fourth World Cup, was named Referee of the Year.

    Former Wallabies captain Mark Loane was presented with the Joe French award in recognition of his long term service and contribution to Australian rugby.

    “It’s still a bit surprising but I guess I’m very very honoured to receive the award,” Beale said.

    “I couldn’t have done it without all the boys in the squad, obviously it’s a team sport.”

    Beale attributed his continued improvement over the past year to hard work.

    “Just a bit of hard work, sacrificing a bit of time to go out of my way and put in the hard yards,” Beale said.

    “I think if you’re going to approach something and strive to reach your goals, at the end of the day to make it as simple as possible, hard work gets you where you want to be.”

    Beale said he had struggled in his first couple of years of professional rugby following a much lauded time at school level.

    “Over the last couple of years I feel that I have been playing consistent rugby and I think that all goes down to the environment I’m in, being around positive people really helps.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 7:51am
      Capital said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      A number of winners on the night – well done Kurtley, and congratulations Stephen Moore – a mammoth effort and reward for the continuous hard work done around the ball.
      Well done also Pat McCabe. Interesting to see that in the Samoa match where he was widely panned by roarers, that his team mates gave him over 50 votes from a possible 66.
      And Radike, great try – great acceptance speach and great to see you back in Gold.

      But kudos to JOC – you made a team function … good remediaton strategy for The Brand.

      • September 2nd 2011 @ 7:54am
        Frank O'Keeffe said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        The Brand will recover eventually.

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 7:53am
      Frank O'Keeffe said | September 2nd 2011 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Beale is a really deserving winner. He was the man I wanted to win, and I thought Pocock was the only main guy who would threaten him.

      However, I was happy to see Stephen Moore come second. He’s played fantastically this year. I’d go so far as to say Moore’s been the Wallabies best player this Tri Nations. He played like an Australian in Auckland, always trying to do the hard work, and involved in plenty of ball carries.

      As I said in another thread, TPN has a lot of fans here, and rightfully so, but Stephen Moore just can’t be dropped. You can’t justify it when he’s played so well.

      As for Beale…

      The stuff he did in Europe last year was just freakish, and I’m not sure people really appreciate the lofty heights his game reached last year. The chip and chase try against England was brilliant. He nearly scored one of the greatest tries one could ever see against Wales. What I wouldn’t have given to see him just ground that ball. But to this day I’ve never seen a guy gather an up and under and then attempt to dribble the ball one way and run past the other. It was an amazing take and a bit of Campese brilliance. And of course he was fantastic against France.

      What I especially like about his play is the way he maximizes opportunities. If somebody makes a break and has the incredible pace to back them up, like when he popped on the outside of O’Connor in South Africa last year. Australia scored so many tries because he was that extra guy to support. He’s scored lots of tries that way. And as I’ve remarked, his extra involvment in attack is actually reflecting poorly on Chris Latham if you ask me, because Latham, great as he was, just was never as involved in attack as Beale is.

      And then there are times when Beale makes the break, and he’s like Gary Ella in the way he can set players up, position his support. So many players fall to pieces there, but he knows where to run to draw that final player and get his support over the try line.

      Then there’s the fact that he beats the first chasing player nearly every time. How does he do it? The most important bit of all was against the All Blacks in Hong Kong when the ball was kicked downfield, he chased after it and launced one more attack. In the same game he set up Drew Mitchell for a try by just holding onto the ball for long enough.

      Then there’s the fact that without Mitchell he’s been the sole great attacking weapon of the Waratah’s this year. I mean look at how the Waratah’s went out. Beale looked like their only weapon in attack, and when things got tough for him in the second half, that was it. He carries that backline, and is overused as a strike weapon.

      He’s been very good for the Wallabies this year, although he hasn’t yet done anything too razzle dazzle. I’d rate Moore the Wallabies best played for this year thus far.

      Genia’s an interesting case. People love him and rate him perhaps a little higher than I do (and I do rate him). At Super 15 level he’s as menacing as any player there is, and that would get him a lot of votes. Because he’s so awesome at that level I think people tend to overrate him slightly. At Test level he’s played some fantastic Tests, but it wasn’t until the last Test against New Zealand I thought he’d actually played well.

      When his forwards aren’t doing their job, the All Blacks can make things impossible for him. Fortunately for Genia the likes of Vickerman and Samo did the trick for him in the last Test.

      Pocock… I haven’t noticed him as much this year. It’s getting harder and harder for openside flankers to pilfer the ball that it almost seems as if McCaw and Pocock have traded their roles for a more ball-carrying-type role. Pocock has definitely got the physique to run into contact and do something good.

      The Wallabies I could see being contenders for an all-time Wallaby XV in 10 years time are Beale (especially Beale), Pocock and Genia. They have a way to go, but there’s potential to be great, especially with Beale.

      Frank just wants to see Beale get better and better. And don’t put shackles on him anybody. As Bob Dwyer says, you polish diamonds, you don’t grind them.

      • September 3rd 2011 @ 2:10am
        Ben S said | September 3rd 2011 @ 2:10am | ! Report

        ‘The chip and chase try against England was brilliant.’

        Beale is indeed a super returner of a kick, but that try was scored amidst England having two players being treated on the floor in the build-up. There was no defensive structure in place.

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 8:32am
      johnny-boy said | September 2nd 2011 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      I wish he had scored that try too FOK. It would have been one of the best ever, if not the best. Perhaps he is saving it for the World Cup.

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 8:52am
      james b said | September 2nd 2011 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      My question is where was Matt Giteau last night?

      There has to be something going here, what this space.

      I think he is already on the plan to play in France.

      • September 2nd 2011 @ 9:20am
        Capital said | September 2nd 2011 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        No win for him to be there.
        He has not been selected, may not warrant a place in the squad – even with injuries and it would have just been a tangible reminder that he is not in the fold.
        Personally, I think he may have declined any invitation to attend. But, that is speculation only.

      • September 2nd 2011 @ 9:24am
        katzilla said | September 2nd 2011 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Lol, would you show up at your works Christmas party after being fired?

      • September 2nd 2011 @ 1:24pm
        Matthew Skellett said | September 2nd 2011 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        Well I would say look at the number of votes he got the WHOLE year by his teammates and you’ll have to surmise that he’s not the popular/fabulous/talented player his fellow lodge members tell us all he is . So no more acting like an arrogant @#$% , betting against your own team and playing like crap and still expecting to be in the starting wallaby line-up Mr Giteau 🙂 and I hope the French know what they are getting -He might return lickety-split in a brown paper bag in the return post 🙂

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 10:26am
      Jimbo said | September 2nd 2011 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      It always makes me laugh when they say almost on cue “Rugby’s night of nights!” at these things…

      … with games primarily played in the evenings these days, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Luna park and Suncorp Stadium… hmmm.

    • September 2nd 2011 @ 1:14pm
      Worlds Biggest said | September 2nd 2011 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

      Just curious why they don’t have this award and dinner at the end of the calendar season. Why have it halfway through the season ? Just seems odd to me. Congrats to KB for the win, he has been brilliant.

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