Marika Koroibete and Michael Wells have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to the Rebels 2021 campaign, named as recipients of the 2021 Players’ Player and Spirit of Weary Dunlop awards at the Player’s Presentation Night in Sydney.
Koroibete has enjoyed a stellar career since joining the Rebels in 2017. Widely regarded as one of the hardest working and most consistent performers in Australian rugby, Koroibete’s fifth year in Super Rugby would again be of the highest calibre.
The powerfully built winger played every game this season, recording over 1000 minutes, and leading the Rebels for carries, metres, clean breaks and defenders beaten.
During Round 3 of the Rebels’ Trans-Tasman clash against the Highlanders at Leichhardt Oval, Koroibete would score two electrifying tries, which saw the 69-game veteran become Melbourne’s second all-time leading try scorer.
Koroibete has now claimed rugby’s highest individual honours at both the Wallabies and the Melbourne Rebels, confirming his place among the greats of Australian rugby.
The twenty-eight-year-old thanked his teammates and the Rebels’ coaching staff for their support in 2021, and said despite the challenging year, he believes great things are just around the corner.
“It’s a huge honour to receive this award and something that means a great deal to me and my family,” said Koroibete.
“I want to thank all my teammates and our coaching staff for their support every day and helping me become the player I am today.
“It’s been a tough year, but I’m so grateful for my teammates - we always go out there and just fight together.
“I’m so excited to see our young talent come up in the next couple of years and believe there are big things ahead.”
Another major honour is The Spirit of Weary Dunlop award, which recognises outstanding contributions on and off the field.
As someone who’s impact extends far beyond the playing field, Vice-Captain, Michael Wells was a worthy recipient in 2021.
Arriving at the Rebels in 2020, Wells has become one of Melbourne’s most respected voices among the playing group, with his strong standing recognised by his appointment as Vice-Captain for a second straight season.
On the field, this year’s campaign proved to one of his finest, with the rampaging back rower playing every game of the Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman competitions, recording over 1000 minutes and placing among his side’s best for tackles and lineouts won. Wells would also score a career-high three tries this season.
The 77-game veteran says being recognised as the 2021 Spirit of Weary Dunlop recipient was “incredibly humbling.”
“It’s obviously an incredible honour and something I’m really humbled and grateful for,” said Wells. “This is a really great group and one that I’m honoured to be a part - the players, the coaching staff and everyone in this room.
“This is a special group and I’m really excited about the future because we’ve got so much more to achieve.”
The twenty-eight-year-old’s recognition caps an exciting twenty-four hours, after being included in Dave Rennie’s squad for the upcoming eToro Test Series against France.
Wells joins the dashing Andrew Kellaway and Burn Boy, Rob Leota as first-time inclusions, while Marika Koroibete, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt To’omua, Reece Hodge and Isi Naisarani have also been named, in what shapes as an exciting Test Season for all Melbourne Rebels’ supporters.