Rugby Union SAs Annual Awards was held 6th September and was a celebration of the inclusive and diverse rugby community that we have in South Australia, from women, culture and abilities with coaches, players, referees, volunteers and administrators.
Rugby Union SA changed the name of the Awards Night, previously known as the Don Smith Awards, wanting to recognise the numerous community awards presented throughout the course of the evening, as well as recognition to our female athletes of the Edna Reilly Award.
In a number of firsts for RUSA this year, we were able to present the Minor Round Premiers in the Womens Competition, to Southern Suburbs. The trophy will be named before the 2024 Awards Night, with naming suggestions to come from the community.
Also announced was the inaugural Best U21 Female Player, awarded to Eloise Rice from Woodville Rugby Club.
Ana Ikahihifo from Woodville took home the Edna Reilly Medal for the best and fairest player in the female grade with Frances Afeaki from Southern Suburbs runner up for the second year in a row, while Save Ronavuso narrowly took out the Don Smith award for best and fairest Premier Grade player over Nick Simpson from Brighton.
Andy Phillips from Wheelchair Rugby SA spoke from the heart, showing his passion for those who love rugby on wheels and urging the community to not see those in wheelchairs as people with a disability but the ability to do things differently. There is a position for everyone in Wheelchair Rugby, just like there is with able-bodied rugby.
FULL LIST OF ALL WINNERS: Minor Premiers, Premier Grade - Brighton Minor Premiers, Womens Competition – Southern Suburbs Coopers Club Champion: Brighton Volunteer of the Year: Paul Smith, Black Falcons Womens Manager Darryl Ryan Best Grounds and Facilities: Old Collegians HJ Rogers Administrative Services: Kathryn van Diemen, Burnside Highest Try Scoring Womens Team: Southern Suburbs Highest Try Scoring Mens Team: Barossa Third Grade Wheelchair Rugby Player of the Year: Tai Martin-Page Wheelchair Rugby Club Person of the Year: James Coleman Neil Charter Junior Development: Tyrone Te Paiho, Southern Suburbs Ray Rosser Coach of the Year: Emma Yates, Southern Suburbs U18 Best Tackler: Daniel Healy, Elizabeth Meredith Knowler Womens Tackling Trophy: Tracy Stanis, Port Adelaide Sir Norman Jude Mens Tackler: Harry Ashby, Southern Suburbs Junior Maualaivao U18 Best & Fairest: Zedakiah Alford, Brighton & Alex Fisher, Onkaparinga U21 Best & Fairest Female: Eloise Rice, Woodville Ray Herde U21 Best & Fairest Male: Rafe Liebers, Adelaide University Best Female Forward: Ana Ikahihifo, Woodville Best Female Back: Frances Afeaki, Southern Suburbs Edna Reilly Best & Fairest Female: Ana Ikahihifo, Woodville Best Male Forward: Nick Simpson, Brighton Best Male Back: Save Ronavuso, Southern Suburbs Don Smith Best & Fairest Male: Save Ronavuso, Southern Suburbs
Quentin Fleischfresser Outstanding Junior Referee: Caitlin Dinning Most Improved Referee: Willem Louw Referee Encouragement Award: Micky Drugu Outstanding Contribution to Referees: Mike Hayes
- Hall of Fame Inductee: Alasdair Hamilton
- 300+ GAMES FOR BURNSIDE
- 20+ STATE REPRESENTATIVE GAMES
- PREMIERSHIP PLAYER 8 YEARS
- PREMIERSHIP COACH 4 YEARS
- SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RUGBY BEST TACKLER 1990
- Player Life Member Recipient: Emma Yates
- CLUB GAMES: 200+ OVER 18 YEARS
- STATE PLAYER: ’04, 05, 06, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19
- AWARDS: CLUB BEST & FAIREST x9
- STATE WOMENS BEST TACKLER
- STATE COACH: 2018, 19, 21 & 22
- CLUB COACH: WOMEN 2008, 21 & 22
- Player Life Member Recipient: Kathryn van Diemen
- CLUB GAMES: 200+ OVER 15 YEARS
- STATE PLAYER: 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 & 2013
- AWARDS: CLUB BEST & FAIREST ‘04, BEST FORWARD ‘09
- DELEGATE: WOMENS 2008-2016, JUNIORS 2020-2023
- CLUB COACH: WOMENS 2010-2012, JUNIORS 2018-2022
- Player Life Member Recipient: Sarah Batzavalis
- CLUB GAMES: 300+ OVER 26 YEARS
- STATE PLAYER: ‘96, ‘97, ’98, ‘99, ’00, ‘01, ’03
- NATIONAL PLAYER: 1998 & 1999 WALLAROOS SQUAD
- AWARDS: ‘03 BEST & FAIREST, ‘05 TACKLING TROPHY
- CLUB COACH: WOMENS 2009 & U8s 2017, 2020-2022
- Player Life Membership Recipient: Stephen Blanch
- CLUB GAMES: 400+
- STATE PLAYER: 37 SENIOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE GAMES
- SERVICE: PRESIDENT BRIGHTON RUGBY CLUB, MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROVIDED AT JUNIOR AND SENIOR CARNIVALS, REFEREE
- Life Member Recipient: Kim Evans
- 2005-2014 - PRESIDENT OLD COLLEGIANS
- 2005-2017 - COMPETITION ADVISORY REP, SA RUGBY
- 2006-2017 - CHAIR, WOMENS ADVISORY GROUP, SA RUGBY
- 2010-2013 - NATIONAL WOMEN’S GROUP, RUGBY AUSTRALIA
- 2012-2022 - JUDICIAL MEMBER & CHAIR
- 2012-2018 - STATE WOMEN’S XVs & 7s TEAM MANAGER
- 2015-2022 - NATIONAL JUDICIAL COMMITTEE, RUGBY AUSTRALIA
- 2015-CURRENT - PRESIDENT FIREBRAND RUGBY
- 2023-CURRENT - PRESIDENT ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY RUGBY CLUB