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Posted by RLPA

September 21, 2022

Finalists revealed for Players’ Champion

The Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) is pleased to announce the Finalists for The Players’ Champion award  – outlining the five Contenders from the NRL who polled the most overall votes for the player-voted individual honour.

The five Finalists for the 2022 Players’ Champion are:

Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Nicho Hynes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)

Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)

Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)

James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)

The Finalist list features four players who are in line to claim their first-ever Players’ Champion accolade, while James Tedesco has previously won the award twice in 2017 & 2019. 

This is Tedesco’s fourth appearance in a row as a Players’ Champion Finalist after the players voted him in the top five in 2021, 2020, and 2019.

Cameron Munster is a Players’ Champion Finalist for the second time, following his appearance on the 2018 list. This is the first time that Hunt, Hynes and Manu have been saluted by their peers as a Players’ Champion Finalist.

The winners of both the 2022 Players’ Champion awards from the NRL and NRLW competitions will be announced during Channel Nine’s Grand Final coverage on October 2.

Clint Newton, CEO of the RLPA, congratulated the five Finalists for The Players’ Champion award:

“To be recognised by your peers as one of the top five players in an NRL season is an incredible recognition of your standing in the playing group. The RLPA would like to congratulate Ben, Nicho, Joseph, Cameron and James on their acknowledgement from their fellow players as Finalists. What they have all contributed to the game on the field during the 2022 season has been first-class.

“All five of these players are worthy names to be etched on the Players’ Champion honour roll. We look forward to seeing who will be announced as The Players’ Champion during Channel Nine’s Grand Final coverage on October 2.”

Johnathan Thurston has won the most Players’ Champion awards, winning the award four times in 2005, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Finalists for the 2022 Players’ Champion from the NRL

About The Players’ Champion voting:

  • Voting is open to all contracted NRL players, with each player selecting opposition players using a 3/2/1 format.
  • Players can vote from a list of four Contenders from each club who are nominated by their Delegates and an RLPA Working Group
  • Players are not penalised for any suspensions and/or fines received during the course of the season. 
  • Players cannot vote for their teammates or themselves.
  • The player with the most number of votes is awarded The Players’ Champion.

Previous winners of The Players’ Champion

  • 2021 Tom Trbojevic
  • 2020 Nathan Cleary
  • 2019 James Tedesco (2)
  • 2018 Kalyn Ponga
  • 2017 James Tedesco
  • 2016 Jason Taumalolo
  • 2015 Johnathan Thurston (4)
  • 2014 Johnathan Thurston (3)
  • 2013 Johnathan Thurston (2)
  • 2012 Ben Barba
  • 2011 Akuila Uate
  • 2010 Darius Boyd
  • 2009 Jarryd Hayne
  • 2008 Braith Anasta & Petero Civoniceva
  • 2007 Matt Bowen
  • 2006 Ben Kennedy
  • 2005 Johnathan Thurston
  • 2004 Danny Buderus

The Players’ Awards schedule announced on Channel 9:

  • September 22: The Players’ Champion Finalists (NRLW)
  • September 23: Players’ Rookie of the Year Finalists (NRL & NRLW)
  • September 25: Players’ Rookie of the Year (NRL & NRLW)
  • September 28: The Players’ Dream Team (NRLW)
  • October 2: The Players’ Champion (NRL & NRLW)
Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler announced the Finalists for the 2022 Players’ Champion (NRL)
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