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Posted by RLPA

September 18, 2022

Southwell & Graham win Dennis Tutty Awards

The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is pleased to announce Wade Graham and Hannah Southwell as the two winners of the 2022 Dennis Tutty Award, the first time ever the honour has been awarded at the same time to players from the NRL and NRLW competitions.

The Dennis Tutty Award is awarded annually to a current rugby league player who has demonstrated outstanding:

a Leadership on and off the field;

b Commitment to their fellow players & to the advancement and protection of their rights; and

c Service and dedication to the game of rugby league.

Hannah Southwell wins the 2022 Dennis Tutty Award

Hannah Southwell wins 2022 Dennis Tutty Award

Hannah Southwell was the first female rugby league player to join the RLPA Board of Directors when she was appointed as a casual vacancy in 2021. She was then formally elected to the Board at the 2022 AGM and she also sits on the Player Advisory Group.

Lina Caccamo, the RLPA’s GM of Elite Women and International Relations, praised Hannah’s commitment to the playing group and her advocacy on their behalf:

“Hannah’s contributions over the last two years have been monumental for the improved standards made to the women’s game and the NRLW. She was the first female rugby league player to join the RLPA Board of Directors and her cutting-edge passion continues to drive change as she selflessly advocates on behalf of all players.

“In 2022, Hannah has been successful on the field winning an NRLW Premiership and a State of Origin. However, throughout her on-field success this year, she has also been incredibly brave off the field by standing up for players both publicly in the media and privately during important meetings.

“A trailblazer within the RLPA’s leadership structure, Hannah is an incredible asset to the Association and her fellow player leaders as she provides valuable insights and support for all players. 

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget Hannah is only 23-years-old. Many would assume that a young player like Hannah would not be courageous enough to advocate for players, or people might just expect her to only focus on her career before she ‘earns her stripes’. Hannah, though, is a great example to other young players and athletes that it doesn’t matter how old you are or how many games you have played. What matters is your rights and that everyone’s voice counts in the fight for what is fair.”

Wade Graham wins the 2022 Dennis Tutty Award

Wade Graham wins 2022 Dennis Tutty Award

Wade Graham started out as a Delegate and then a member of the Player Advisory Group before his appointment to the RLPA Board in May 2019

Clint Newton, the Chief Executive Officer of the RLPA, praised Wade’s commitment and the amount of work he has fulfilled this year on behalf of the playing group:

“Throughout 2022, Wade has been outstanding for the players and the Association, which only adds to the years of work he has already committed to the RLPA as a Delegate, PAG member and Board Director.”

“When you’re a young CEO you need strong and loyal support to help you through difficult times, and Wade has most certainly provided this for me without hesitation. He attends many important meetings within the Association, either as a Board member or Player Advisory Group member, and has led from the front during critical negotiations with the NRL throughout the year to advocate on behalf of players. 

“In particular, Wade was incredibly influential in the roll-back of the restrictive COVID protocols NRL and NRLW players were facing in January, in working with the Association to negotiate the players’ share of outperformance, and now as we get to the table with the NRL to negotiate our joint-CBA.

“On top of all these commitments, Wade is one of the first players to put his hand up to speak in the media, which shows incredible courage to speak up on behalf of all players to ensure their collective voices are heard.”

The RLPA congratulates both Hannah and Wade on their incredible recognition as the winners of the 2022 Dennis Tutty Awards.

The 2022 Dennis Tutty Award nominees from the NRLW competition were Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Hannah Southwell and Simaima Taufa, and from the NRL competition the nominees were Kurt Capewell, Wade Graham and Josh Hodgson.

Winners of the Dennis Tutty Award:

  • 2022 Hannah Southwell (NRLW)
  • 2022 Wade Graham (NRL)
  • 2021 Ali Brigginshaw (NRLW)
  • 2021 Christian Welch (NRL)
  • 2020 Blake Green
  • 2019 David Gower
  • 2018 Jason Nightingale
  • 2017 James Maloney
  • 2016 Dene Halatau
  • 2015 Tom Symonds
  • 2014 Nate Myles
  • 2013 Clint Newton
  • 2012 Robbie Farah
  • 2011 Andrew Ryan
  • 2010 Petero Civoniceva
  • 2009 Michael Gordon
  • 2008 Jason King

About Dennis Tutty:

Dennis Tutty played rugby league long before the days of full-time professionalism. Before colour TV, Tina Turner and the NRL. When players played almost exclusively for their local clubs and, first and foremost, for their love of the game. Unfortunately, in this romanticised era of rugby league, where the greats of Arthur Beetson and Ron Coote made their names, player rights were often a passing thought for the game’s administrators.

Dennis’ actions in challenging the NSWRL’s transfer system in 1968, at great personal sacrifice, were not only pivotal in the emergence of a player’s rights movement but paved the way for the professionals of today.

The RLPA will ensure that Dennis’s legacy is never forgotten, and all players are reminded of the benefits his sacrifices provide them. 

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