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St.George Queensland Reds loose forward Jake Schatz has won both the Pilecki Medal and the Most Improved award at the Queensland Reds Gala Ball tonight.
The Pilecki Medal is voted on a 3-2-1 basis by the players following each game of the season, and 2013 has seen the Reds forwards dominate the voting.
“Jake has been a consistent performer for Queensland over the last two years,” said Reds Head Coach Richard Graham.
“Jake is a very proud Queenslander and has already racked up 50 Reds caps. He is only 23 and he will be around for many years to come to help Queensland achieve our Super Rugby Ambitions.
“Any award voted on by your peers is the one you cherish the most, and it’s great to see Jake rewarded by his teammates with the Pilecki medal,” he added.
Schatz finished the season with an impressive tally of 269 votes, followed closely by backrow partner Liam Gill on 262, and 2012 winner James Slipper on 227.
With 269 votes, Schatz has recorded the second highest votes tally in the history of the medal, with James Slipper’s 272 vote effort in 2012 still the highest.
Eddie Quirk polled the highest individual round score, with 48 individual votes in the Reds 25-17 round two win over the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.
Schatz was also awarded by the Reds coaches for his efforts during the 2013 season with the Most Improved Player award.
“The team values Jake’s understanding of the no.8 role, his work ethic, his improving ability to read the game and his outstanding aerial skills.
“Jake always contributes 100 per cent to preparing himself for a game as well as assisting his teammates,” Graham added.
Queensland and Australian Rugby legend Toutai Kefu was previously the only no.8 to win the award. Schatz becomes the second, and also the second ever Sunnybank player to win the award with Rodney Blake the first in 2006.
The Pilecki Medal is named after legendary Queensland prop Stan Pilecki, who earned 122 caps during his playing career. Stan Pilecki was on hand to present the award to Schatz, who is the 23rd Queensland player to be given the honour since the medal was introduced in 1992.
As the recipient of the Most Improved Player, Schatz has been recognised by the Queensland Reds coaching staff as a player who lifted his game throughout 2013 and improved beyond expectations.
Liam Gill, who polled second overall for the Pilecki medal, is this year’s People’s Choice Award winner, as voted by Queensland Reds fans online.
Thousands of fans voted for their favourite Red, and Jess Erwin from Albury Victoria, was the lucky voter who won the chance to present the award to Gill on the night.
“Liam is one of the most exciting young players in Australian Rugby. He has proven to be one of the best pilferers in the game.
“Liam is just 21-years-old and already has three years of Super Rugby under his belt. He is now in his second year of Test Rugby, he’s going to be one of the keys to this team’s success,” said Graham.
Former Australian Schoolboy and current Australian Under 20’s Captain Curtis Browning was this year’s Rookie of the Year.
Browing had an outstanding season where he built from playing Queensland Premier Rugby to captaining his country and earning his first Queensland cap against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium, where he helped the Reds claim the 23-18 win.
“Curtis is one of our most promising young players.
“His size and strength for a player of his age is impressive and he has a big future in the game,” Graham added.
The Spirit of the Reds award goes to the player who best displays the characteristics which embody the culture of the Reds.
Jarrad Butler is this year’s award recipient.
“Jarrad has progressed through from school and club Rugby into the Reds Squad.
“He has also done a lot of work off the field this year in the community helping other areas of the business grow and develop,” said Graham.
A new inclusion for the Reds awards in 2013 is the Reds College award, which recognises the efforts of the Queensland Reds wider training group.
Nigel Genia is the recipient of this year’s award following his consistent contributions at training, and his performances for the Reds College XV in the Pacific Nations Cup, and for West’s in the Queensland Premier Rugby Competition.
Graham said: “Nigel is yet another talented young player in our ranks, who continues to develop both on and off the field.”
For the first time ever, the Queensland Premier Rugby Player of the Year award, the Alec Evans Medal, was announced at the Reds Gala Ball, helping highlight the importance of Premier Rugby as the breeding ground for Queensland Rugby talent.
This year’s award winner was Wests Bulldogs Captain Brett Gillespie. Brett had stellar year playing at both inside and outside centre and his growing combination with young flyhalf Sam Greene, the competitions top point scorer and also a front runner for the medal, was a true highlight for the Bulldogs this season.
“Brett’s contribution to the team this year has been excellent as Captain, he has led by example all year round,” said West’s Head Coach Pat Byron.
“The big thing about Brett is how he prepares and applies himself to club Rugby, it’s excellent.
“Brett is a great all-rounder, he is good in both defence and attack, has great footwork in contact, and his breakdown abilities for a back are brilliant,” he added.
Queensland Rugby also recognises every year the contributions of the game’s volunteers with the announcement of the Volunteer of the Year award at the Reds Gala Ball.
This year’s recipient is Redlands Rugby Club life member Tiki Tuapou. Tiki has been involved with the club since 1998 in a variety of capacities including as a Coach and President across both Junior and Senior grades.
Tiki led the establishment of the Southern Bay Rugby Club as a satellite club of Redlands, foreseeing the growth in population of the Southern regions of the Redlands Shire, working tirelessly with the Redlands Shire Council to establish suitable grounds.
It was during Tiki’s Presidency that Redlands was granted Brisbane Club status, and were promoted from the Brisbane Sub Districts competition to the First Grade.
2013 Pilecki Medal – Top 10
Pilecki Medal History
Jake Schatz – 269
Liam Gill - 262
James Slipper - 227
Greg Holmes - 206
Will Genia – 125
Ed Quirk - 117
Rob Simmons – 105
Saia Faingaa – 103
Rod Davies – 100
Digby Ioane – 100
2013 Jake Schatz (269 votes)
2012 James Slipper (272 votes)
2011 Will Genia (263 votes)
2010 Will Genia (209 votes)
2009 Digby Ioane (253 votes)
2008 David Croft (195 votes)
2007 David Croft (188 votes)
2006 Rodney Blake (186 votes)
2005 Nathan Sharpe
2004 Chris Latham
2003 Julian Huxley
2002 Chris Latham
2001 Toutai Kefu
2000 Chris Latham
1999 Chris Latham/Daniel Herbert
1998 John Eales
1997 John Eales
1996 Jason Little
1995 Jason Little
1994 Matthew Pini
1993 Rod McCall
1992 Peter Slattery
23 JANUARY 2019