Freier Wins 2006 Matthew Burke Cup
May 14, 2006

Waratahs hooker Adam Freier has claimed the 2006 Matthew Burke Cup, edging out fellow tight five star Daniel Vickerman in one of the tightest races in the award's history.

Freier polled 162 player votes to take out the players player award ahead of Vickerman, who finished on 159.

"I really am lost for words," an emotional Freier said after receiving the award from head coach Ewen McKenzie.

"I'm humbled to be considered up there with past winners like Phil Waugh and Nathan Grey and inspirational characters like Chris Whitaker, it's a real honour."

Freier held a three vote lead heading into Saturday night's final round clash with the Hurricanes, and although both players polled votes in the loss the final margin remained the same.

Phil Waugh finished in third on 143 votes, with skipper Chris Whitaker polling 111 to finish fourth.

Points were awarded on a 3-2-1 basis for each game, with all members of each match day 22 getting a vote.

Two other awards were handed out at the presentation evening, with Vickerman named best forward and Whitaker, in his final season in sky blue, named best back.

Whitaker, the Waratahs new all-time caps record holder after passing Burke's mark of 115 matches a fortnight ago, was the recipient of a stirring tribute from Morgan Turinui ahead of his impending departure for Irish province Leinster.

Stephen Hoiles also gave a speech honouring Waratahs backline player Shaun Berne, who will depart the side after the Super 14 to join English club Bath.

Freier and Turinui were presented with caps in recognition of their playing 50 games for the state, while 2006's new caps also had their first Super 14 jerseys framed and presented to them.

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