Super Rugby
Hooper wins Waratahs Players' Player
August 27, 2014
Waratahs' Michael Hooper lifts the Super Rugby trophy, Waratahs v Crusaders, Super Rugby Grand Final, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia, August 2, 2014
Accolades keep flowing for the Waratahs captain © AP

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has added to his bulging portfolio of individual accolades by winning a second consecutive New South Wales Waratahs Players' Player of the Year award.

Hooper, who led the Waratahs to their maiden Super Rugby title following a late-season knee injury to first-choice skipper and fellow back-rower Dave Dennis, polled 277 votes in the count for the Matthew Burke Cup. He finished 20 votes ahead of No.8 Wycliff Palu (257), the only other player to have won the award in consecutive seasons.

Palu was named Forward of the Year, while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (219) completed the pack's domination of the placings by finishing third in the count determined by votes cast after each of the Waratahs' Super games, including the finals.

Outside centre Adam Ashley-Cooper (162) finished fourth and won the Best Back award, while a fifth Wallabies star, five-eighth Bernard Foley (158), rounded out the top five. Foley was the fans' favourite, shading Hooper for the Members' Choice Player of the Year.

The competition for awards was so hot that prolific fullback Israel Folau didn't make the top 10 of the Players' Player or top five of the Members' Choice counts.

Three days after Australia was condemned to a 12th straight year without winning the Bledisloe Cup, Hooper continued his remarkable run of individual awards over the past three seasons. In 2012, he was the Wallabies and Australian Super Rugby Rookie of the Year and was named Best Forward at the Brumbies.

Last year, in addition to winning the Waratahs award in his first season with the franchise, he won the Australian Super 15 Player of the Year and was the runaway winner of the John Eales Medal.

In other awards handed out at the function in Sydney, Dennis won the Waratah Medal for on and off-field performance and departing winger Alofa Alofa won the Aspiring Waratah Medal.


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