Force captain Hodgson wins Nathan Sharpe Medal

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson was awarded the 2014 Nathan Sharpe Medal at the HBF Stadium in Perth on Saturday.

This is the third time Hodgson has claimed the premier award, having previously received the club’s Player of the Year Award (now Nathan Sharpe Medal) in 2009 and 2010.

In the night’s other awards, crowd favourite Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins was voted the Members’ MVP; lock Adam Coleman took out the Rising Star; and Ben McCalman and Sam Wykes were joint winners of the newly named Geoffrey Stooke Award (formerly the Force Man Award).

For Hodgson, one of the club’s remaining inaugural players, the Nathan Sharpe Medal capped off a stellar season that included becoming the first player to reach 100 Super Rugby matches for the Western Force; three man-of-the-match performances against the Chiefs, Cheetahs and Lions; and his first call-up to the Wallabies squad in four years.

The 34-year-old finished with 343 points in a season that saw the openside flanker start every match, leading the team to the most-successful season to date with nine wins (five consecutive) and the most number of wins at home (six).

He also finished the 2014 season as the Super Rugby competition leader in tackles (234) and turnovers (26) and crossed for six tries.

The Nathan Sharpe Medal is determined by each member of the match day 23 voting for their peers on a 3, 2, 1 voting basis.

Hodgson finished ahead of joint Geoffrey Stooke Award winners, Ben McCalman (248) and Sam Wykes (181). McCalman led the points tally for the first 12 rounds of the competition before Hodgson stormed home in the final six rounds while Wykes’ man-of-the-match performance against the Reds in Round 17 saw him catapulted into the top three.

Western Australian local Dane Haylett-Petty (158) finished the season with consistently strong performances to finish fourth while the club’s leading points scorer Sias Ebersohn (114 points) finished fifth on the Nathan Sharpe Medal tally with 144 votes.

The gala evening also saw the Force Man Award aptly retitled the Geoffrey Stooke Award, recognising the immense contribution Geoff Stooke OAM has made to Western Australian rugby.

Mr Stooke OAM – a life member of RugbyWA – has played in excess of 600 matches for Perth club Associates, and held the position of Chairman of RugbyWA for 23 years (1988-2011).

Having played an integral role in bringing Super Rugby to Western Australia, Mr Stooke OAM has also received:

– The Medal of the Order of Australia for Services to Rugby Union (1999);
– The Australian Sports Medal (2000);
– The Centenary Medal for Contribution to Sport in WA (2003);
– Named WA Citizen of the Year (Sport) (2006);
– Appointed to the Australian Rugby Union Board of Directors (2012)

In receiving the award, McCalman and Wykes were recognised for their performances on and off the field in 2014, with McCalman’s on-field efforts complemented by his contribution to the team’s Standards Group, while Wykes continued to develop into one of the side’s most respected leaders in his seventh year with the club.

After making his debut against the Western Force in 2013 while in a Waratahs jersey, 22-year-old, Tasmanian-born Coleman added a further 12 caps to his tally – starting in five – to be named Rising Star.

With seven tries during the season, including a hat-trick in the Round Nine clash with the Waratahs at the ‘Force Field’, Cummins was voted Members’ MVP for a second time after previously taking out the award in 2012.

2014 Nathan Sharpe Medal Dinner – Award Winners

Nathan Sharpe Medal: Matt Hodgson

Geoffrey Stooke Award: Ben McCalman & Sam Wykes

Rising Star: Adam Coleman

Members’ MVP: Nick Cummins

2014 Nathan Sharpe Medal – Top Five

Matt Hodgson – 343 votes

Ben McCalman – 248 votes

Sam Wykes – 181 votes

Dane Haylett-Petty – 158 votes

Sias Ebersoh

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