International second-rower Gareth Ellis has today set a benchmark that will be hard to beat after winning the Wests Tigers Player of the Year award for the third consecutive season.
Rated as the world’s best second-rower, Ellis played 18 games this season and is the only player to have won the Wests Tigers Player of the Year award three times. The Player of the Year Award is voted on by the Wests Tigers players.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed to be honest. I missed a few games this year but I just can’t say thank you enough for the award, particularly the boys who obviously voted for me,’’ Ellis said.
“It has been a fantastic year. The boys are a pleasure to play with week in, week out. We did fall short again this year but hopefully we can look forward to a real strong 2012 and we can have a good go again.”
The Player of the Year award was a number of awards presented in front of more than 1100 people at a sold out Wests Tigers Grand Final luncheon at Le Montage Function Centre in Leichhardt.
Prop Keith Galloway was rewarded for his outstanding season by winning the Noel Kelly Medal for Best Forward.
Galloway played 23 games this season and his high work rate saw him rewarded with a NSW jersey for Origin 3. He also is a strong contender to make the final Australian squad for the Four Nations tournament next month.
Star five-eighth Benji Marshall was a popular winner of the Keith Barnes Medal for Best Back. It is the third consecutive yearMarshall has won the award.Marshall enjoyed his finest season for Wests Tigers in 2011, playing 25 games and breaking the record for most points for the Club.
He also finished second in the Dally M Player of the Year award.
Talented young prop Aaron Woods was rewarded for his superb debut season by being named the Club’s Rookie of the Year for 2011. Woods played 24 games after making his NRL debut in round one. He was rewarded for his stellar season by being named in the Australian Kangaroos train-on squad for the Four Nations.
High Performance Manager Steve Folkes presented the Iron Men awards for playing al 26 matches this season to centre Blake Ayshford, hooker Robbie Farah, lock Chris Heighington and full-back Tim Moltzen.
Ayshford picked up a second award when he took home the Wests Tigers Members Player of the Year award. The under-rated centre enjoyed a superb year, playing every game and really stepped up as a quality attacking centre
Gallowaycollected his second award when he was presented the Wests Tigers Community Award for his work with the ‘Read with Wests Tigers program at the Exodus Foundation Reading Centre at Ashfield.
Keith has also helped feed the city’s homeless by working at the Exodus Night van. He also regularly visits sick children in hospital to help brighten their day.
Wests Tigers also presented awards to their U20s team. The Players’ Player award went to powerful forward Mosese Fotuaika with talented full-back James Tedesco collecting the Coaches Award.
The U20s Community Award went to second-rower and captain Shaun Spence in recognition of his strong work with the reading program at the Exodus Foundation.
2011 Wests Tigers Awards
Player of the Year: Gareth Ellis
Noel Kelly Medal for Best Forward: Keith Galloway
Keith Barnes Medal for Best Back: Benji Marshall
Rookie of the Year: Aaron Woods
Iron Men: Blake Ayshford, Robbie Farah, Chris Heighington, Tim Moltzen.
Community Award: Keith Galloway
Members Player of the Year: Blake Ayshford
Players Player: Mosese Fotuaika
Coaches Award: James Tedesco
Community Award: Shaun Spence
Buford Balony says: If this guy was playing Rugby at the World Cup maybe England would be decent.