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Posted by RLPA

September 16, 2021

The Players’ Champion – The Dennis Tutty Award Finalists

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 & 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.
Each year, The Dennis Tutty award recognises a player who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, on and off the field, dedication to his fellow players and commendable service to the game. Previous winners of The Dennis Tutty award include long-time player advocate James Maloney and current RLPA CEO, Clint Newton.
Speaking about the award and the finalists, RLPA CEO Clint Newton said “Dennis Tutty stood firm against injustice and his unwavering commitment continues to provide athletes with essential freedoms and rights that still exist today. Our members remain committed to continuing his legacy and this year’s finalists have chosen to lead by example through the 2021 season. We will continue to proudly champion our members and those that are prepared to step forward on behalf of the collective by selflessly dedicating their time and effort to advance and protect the rights of their fellow players”.
The 2021 finalists, endorsed by the RLPA board, have demonstrated admirable spirit and commitment in advocating for and protecting the rights of their fellow players in a year that has required unprecedented sacrifice from many.

2021 Finalists

Daly Cherry-Evans

Since stepping into the role of General President following Cameron Smith’s retirement, Daly has shown inspirational leadership and commitment to the RLPA and his fellow players. His ability and willingness to speak publicly on behalf of the collective, often in times of tension with NRL, has demonstrated great courage and selflessness. Moreover, his active involvement and feedback across a number of key areas including on-field matters and representative rugby league has been invaluable for the RLPA and the wider playing group.

Josh Hodgson

Josh is a true leader, on and off the field. Josh has fiercely protected and supported his fellow players on numerous occasions, often in the face of personal scrutiny or criticism. In his role as a Player Delegate and Player Advisory Group member, he has significantly strengthened the connection between the Canberra Raiders playing group, the collective and the RLPA.

Moses Mbye

Moses has displayed an ability to make an honest assessment of issues confronting his fellow players and identify actions that lead to positive outcomes, which has been to the benefit of the RLPA and the playing group. Moses joined the Player Advisory Group earlier in the year, where he played a pivotal role in the CBA revisions process and continues to be a valued conduit between the RLPA and the Wests Tigers playing group.

Dale Copley

Dale has demonstrated true commitment to the RLPA and his fellow players as a Delegate, Player Advisory Group member and Director. His involvement in the CBA revisions process was absolutely critical, where he attended multiple meetings with RLPA staff and NRL management. Dale continues to provide invaluable insights on a regular basis that help inform the RLPA’s approach on key matters affecting players.

Christian Welch

Since joining the RLPA board in 2021, Christian’s role and influence with the RLPA and the wider game has continued to grow. His courage in speaking publicly on numerous key issues and his ability to authentically represent the feelings and concerns of players has been instrumental. Further, his involvement in the CBA revisions process and ongoing commitment to working groups and committees, including the Workloads and Balance Committee, has been crucial in achieving successful outcomes for the playing group.

The winner of The Denis Tutty Award 2021 will be announced live on Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show on Sunday, September 19th.

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