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Melbourne Rebels 2022 Player Awards

Thu, 09/06/2022, 11:32 am
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

The Melbourne Rebels have officially signed off on Season 2022, hosting an all-in Club celebration and awards night at the Bells Hotel earlier tonight.

With both the Rebels’ men’s and women’s teams in attendance, the Club took time to honour a number of outstanding contributions from this season, including the Players’ Player awards won by Brad Wilkin and Melanie Kawa, the Spirit of Weary Dunlop award won by James Tuttle and Annie Buntine, and the People’s Choice Player of the Year award, which was presented to Matt Philip and Ashley Marsters.

Wilkin was one of the Rebels’ most consistent performers this year, playing every match of the Super Rugby Pacific season, leading the Rebels in tackles made and turnovers won, while becoming one of the Club’s strongest ball carriers.

Arriving in Melbourne in 2019, the twenty-six-year-old has gone on to make 29 appearances across four seasons for the Rebels, becoming one of the Club’s most respected voices among the playing group.

Having recommitted with the Rebels last week, Wilkin will continue to be an important player to the Club for many years to come.

Wilkin said he was humbled to be recognised by his teammates.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure running out every weekend and playing for this team, this Club and our supporters, said Wilkin.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for me starting out here, so I really want to thank the coaching staff – Footey for always backing me and Will Markwick, who’s worked really hard to help me get it together to get back on the park and playing my best footy.

“I’m really grateful for this season and excited to build towards moving forward to next year.”

Rebels Super W skipper, Melanie Kawa, took home her second consecutive Players’ Player award after an outstanding campaign in her third season with the Club.

The open-side flanker lead from the front all season long and was one of the key catalysts behind the Rebels’ thrilling Round 2 comeback against the Brumbies in the team’s first game back on AAMI Park soil in 756 days.

“It’s such an honour to receive this award,” said Kawa.

“I’m so privileged to be able to do what I love at such a great Club with such great support.

“This year was full of so many firsts, so to now be included in this inner sanctum celebration, it means a lot and it’s really awesome to be a part of.”

James Tuttle and Annie Buntine have been rewarded for their outstanding contributions both on and off field, honoured with this year’s The Spirit of Weary Dunlop award.

After arriving at the Rebels in 2020, Tuttle has played 25 matches over three seasons with Rebels, including 12 this year, forming a crucial partnership with the emerging Carter Gordon at the halves.

Away from the field, Tuttle has grown into one of the Rebels most respected high-performance leaders through his exceptional work ethic, preparation and dedication.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award,” said Tuttle.

“From my teammates to the staff and our coaches - you guys really make it easy coming in every day and working hard, so thank you.”

In her second season with the Rebels Super W squad, Annie Buntine has developed into one of her side’s most influential drivers of comradery, going above and beyond providing energy, support and positivity to all members of the program throughout the season.

Buntine believed a focus on love and connection has paid dividends for the Super W program and its internal culture.

“Our motto of love really bounces off everyone from players to staff to management and helps drive us through pre-season and into the games,” said Buntine.

“It’s awesome to receive this award on behalf of our whole team because we really did live love this year with a really special group.”

Meanwhile international pair Matt Philip and Ashley Marsters have taken out the inaugural People’s Choice Player of the Year awards, voted by Rebels’ members.