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Rugby SAs Annual Awards Celebration

Wed, 08/09/2021, 9:30 pm
Rugby Union SA
by Rugby Union SA
Edna Reilly Winner, Alecia Pienaar & Don Smith Winner, Rhys Gurd
Edna Reilly Winner, Alecia Pienaar & Don Smith Winner, Rhys Gurd

Rugby Union SAs Annual Awards was held 8th September

and was a celebration of all our clubs, volunteers and players in a year that’s been disrupted with COVID restrictions.


Alecia Pienaar from Old Collegians won the Meredith Knowler Best Female Tackler award as well as the Edna Reilly Best & Fairest Female player. Asked by MC Dave Webb what she hopes for her rugby future, Alecia says she wants to play in a Super W squad!


Rhys Gurd took home the Don Smith Medal for Men’s Best & Fairest Player and gave an emotional, heart-felt speech which left everyone applauding.

“2 years ago, I was ready to walk away from rugby, I had a lot of off-field indiscretions, I let my club down at the time. Some of that I live with and I’ve tried to become a better person because of it.


Without the support of 4 main people – Kevin Beckett backs me and calls me just to make sure I’m ok.


Richard Wasley – when one door shut, another one opened which I did not expect and it was the last door that I expected to have opened but I jumped through and he’s done everything to make sure I have felt welcomed.


Jayne Fishwick – when I first arrived, I was a mess and she has done everything to back me, call me, has got me a house and has given support in any way that she could.


And lastly, there’s a message I never thought I would send and I am thankful to the person that opened it. So, I want to thank Rose Jackson for being my main support through that difficult time. When I thought there were a lot of evil people in the game, she showed me how beautiful some people in the game can truly be and she helped open the door for me to come back.


I watched Troy Doughty win this twice while I was a junior at Onkas and to watch a coach of mine get the coach award on live stream last year, I’ve just wanted to walk up here. I’m very thankful to get this award and I hope I have made you all proud.”


President Mike von Berg closed the evening saying

we could not take the field week in and week out, without the volunteers who support our great game at all levels in this State. There are hundreds of you, and you too must be thanked, and respected. We are only a small Union in the rugby landscape of Australia but in so many ways we box above our weight in providing a strong competition in a safe, harmonious, happy, family environment.


My thanks to all of the clubs in managing what once again through COVID has been a difficult year, and the Board who have steered a positive course and I certainly respect all of your efforts.”



Coopers Club Champion, Brighton

Volunteer of the Year, Kevin Beckett

Darryl Ryan Best Grounds and Facilities, Onkaparinga

HJ Rogers Administrative Services, Kim Evans Judiciary Chair

Highest Try Scoring Womens Team, Adelaide University

Highest Try Scoring Mens Team, Brighton Premier

Neil Charter Junior Development, Adelaide University

Ray Rosser Coach of the Year, Chris Graham Southern Suburbs

U18 Best Tackler, Oscar Gehan Old Collegians

Meredith Knowler Womens Tackling Trophy, Alecia Pienaar Old Collegians

Sir Norman Jude Mens Tackler, Liam Devine Onkaparinga

Junior Maualaivao U18 Best & Fairest, Carl Arnold Old Collegians

Ray Herde U21 Best & Fairest, Jack Brady Adelaide University

Best Female Forward, Lusia Raikiwasa Adelaide University

Best Female Back, Alecia Pienaar Old Collegians

Edna Reilly Best & Fairest Female, Alecia Pienaar Old Collegians

Best Male Forward, Rhys Gurd Brighton

Best Male Back, Keanu Eliepa Burnside

Don Smith Best & Fairest Male, Rhys Gurd Brighton


Quentin Fleischfresser Outstanding Junior Referee, Caelan Doudle

Most Improved Referee, Leesa Kenny

Referee Encouragement Award, Damon Goulding

Outstanding Contribution to Referees, Mike Hayes


Player Life Member Recipient, Jim Wilson

Player Life Member Recipient, Steve Dumican

Referee Life Member Recipient, Gary Howat

Referee Life Member Recipient, Steve Sandford

Life Member Recipient, Pam Jackson