Tedesco claims another prize
THE gongs keep on coming for James Tedesco.
The Sydney Roosters superstar on Monday night added yet another award to his catalogue of achievements in 2019.
This time he was voted the game's best by his fellow players, taking out the Players' Champion award at the Rugby League Players Association awards in Sydney.
Less than a fortnight ago, Tedesco was crowned Dally M medallist at the NRL's player of the year awards. Over the course of the past 12 months, he has won the Jack Gibson Medal as the Roosters' best player, the Brad Fittler Medal for NSW's best, and the Wally Lewis Medal for State of Origin's premier performer.
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He was also awarded a premiership medal thanks to the Roosters' win in the grand final. His trophy cabinet is bulging with every individual honour in the game.
If there was an argument over rugby league's best and brightest, surely it is now over given the accolade he has now received from his peers.
Tedesco beat a hot field to the top gong, finishing ahead of Cameron Munster, Payne Haas, Cameron Smith and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to claim the award for the second time.
In doing so, he became only the second player after Johnathan Thurston to be named the Players' Champion more than once. Heady company but these are heady days for Tedesco.
Billy Slater has only just departed but the game has a new king in the No 1 jersey at a time when the game's fullback stocks are overflowing.
St George Illawarra star Jess Sergis received the women's player of the year award while Haas was named rookie of the year after an outstanding campaign with the Broncos.
Wests Tigers prop Russell Packer was awarded the wellbeing and education award and was named in the academic team of the year alongside Brisbane prop Matt Lodge.
RLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast paid homage to Tedesco and Stergis for their achievements.
"These awards are about celebrating greatness in the eyes of those who take the field each week," Prendergast said.
"Congratulations to both James and Jessica on being recognised by their peers as the best from their respective competitions.
"James has no doubt had an incredible season, he has won nearly every award possible this year and is now the Players' Champion with his peers acknowledging his extraordinary efforts.
"James also won the Players' Champion honour in 2017 while he was at the Wests Tigers and now joins Johnathan Thurston as the only players to have won it more than once.
"We are proud to this year introduce the NRLW Players' Champion award, with Jess enjoying a stellar year with the Dragons and a deserving winner of the inaugural honour.
"The event was a great opportunity to not only acknowledge the current champions of our game, but also reflect on our champions of the past as we celebrate 40 years of the RLPA.
"I want to thank everyone who joined us for the event, including some of the pioneers of the Association, and also pay tribute to everyone who has played a role in the RLPA's history."