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Posted by RLPA

September 24, 2023

Biddle and Bula voted best Rookies

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) is pleased to announce the Rookie of the Year winners are Annessa Biddle and Jahream Bula  – as voted by the players.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks winger Annessa Biddle beat out a tough field of rookies in the NRLW, edging ahead of fellow Finalists Sheridan Gallagher (Knights), Grace Kemp (Raiders), Chantay Kiria Ratu (Titans) and Cheyelle Robins-Reti (Raiders).

Wests Tigers fullback Jahream Bula was voted by NRL players as their best rookie among an impressive group of Finalists: Jacob Preston (Bulldogs), Sunia Turuva (Panthers), Zac Hosking (Panthers) and Will Warbrick (Storm).

Lina Caccamo, the RLPA’s GM of Elite Women and International Relations, congratulated Annessa Biddle on being voted Rookie of the Year by NRLW players:

“With four new NRLW teams and the longest season to date, it meant that the field for Rookie of the Year in 2023 was the most competitive ever. On behalf of the RLPA, I would like to congratulate Annessa for this incredible recognition from her peers in such a tough field to pick from.

“To be named Rookie of the Year by your peers is an extraordinary acknowledgement for Annessa. We look forward to watching her continue to grow as a player and person. She is a phenomenal talent and has a very bright future as an elite NRLW player.

“We would also like to congratulate and recognise Sheridan, Grace, Chantay and Cheyelle for being voted as Finalists for the Rookie of the Year. There were 102 players who debuted in the 2023 NRLW season alone, so to be voted in the top five in a field of over 100 rookies is a testament to their qualities as players.”

Tiana Penitani, captain of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and an RLPA Delegate, praised her teammate:

“I couldn’t be more proud of Annessa. We knew she was going to be a special talent from the first few weeks of pre-season. She’s such a hard worker and the most humble human. 

“To receive this award in a season where there were so many incredibly talented rookies is a reflection of how amazing Annessa is and what a bright future she has ahead of her.”

Annessa Biddle
Annessa Biddle

Clint Newton, CEO of the RLPA, congratulated both Annessa Biddle and Jahream Bula for their Rookie of the Year awards:

“The RLPA would like to congratulate Annessa and Jahream for being honoured as the Players’ Rookie of the Year winners. As with any year, the players had to choose between an excellent crop of rookies. 

“The quality of players coming through the ranks of both competitions is exciting and proves the strength of our pathways. Both Annessa and Jahream thoroughly deserve to join an esteemed honour roll for the Players’ Rookie of the Year. It’s not easy coming into arguably the most intense competitions in the world as a rookie, so to stand out the way Annessa and Jahream have is a strong demonstration of who they are as people and players. 

“Given the first-class list of previous Players’ Rookie of the Year winners, I have no doubt we will see both Annessa and Jahream continue to have wonderful careers as their prodigious talents are continually developed and fostered.”

About The Rookie of the Year voting:

  • Voting (in their applicable competition) is open to all contracted NRL & NRLW players, with each player selecting one (1) opposition player from their competition.
  • Players are not penalised for any suspensions and/or fines received during the course of the season. 
  • Players cannot vote for their teammates
  • The player with the most number of votes is awarded the Players’ Rookie of the Year.

Previous winners of The Rookie of the Year:

  • 2022 Gayle Broughton & Jeremiah Nanai
  • 2021 Destiny Brill & Reece Walsh
  • 2020 Harry Grant
  • 2019 Payne Haas
  • 2018 Victor Radley
  • 2017 Nick Cotric
  • 2016 Cody Walker
  • 2015 Cameron Munster
  • 2014 Luke Brooks
  • 2013 George Burgess
  • 2012 Josh Mansour & Adam Reynolds
  • 2011 Daly Cherry-Evans
  • 2010 Trent Hodkinson
  • 2009 Josh Dugan
  • 2008 David Williams
  • 2007 Michael Jennings
  • 2006 Darius Boyd
  • 2005 Ben Smith
  • 2004 Sonny-Bill Williams

The Players’ Awards schedule in partnership with Channel 9:

  • September 28: The Players’ Dream Team (NRLW)
  • October 2: The Players’ Champion (NRL & NRLW)
Jahream Bula
Jahream Bula
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