RaboDirect Rebels vice-captain Gareth Delve has won two awards at the Club’s end of season Weary Dunlop Lunch, including the prestigious Rod Macqueen Pursuit of Excellence Award.
Presented by inaugural Head Coach Rod Macqueen, the sought after award is presented to the player that best exemplifies the pursuit of excellence in all that he does, an excellent player who represents the Five Star Pledge on and off the field, is an excellent clubman and an excellent citizen of Melbourne.
Delve also won the People’s Choice Award, voted by the fans for the player they believe has been the club’s best during the 2012 FxPro Super Rugby Season.
Upon receiving his awards, Delve was quick to praise the club and his fellow players for making the move from Wales to Australia as comfortable as possible.
“It’s incredible to get those rewards and recognition,” said Delve.
“The fact we’ve had such a good season and to be part of such a great team is reward enough, but to get that recognition as a foreign player means a huge amount to me.
“Ever since I’ve come over with my partner Helen we’ve been welcomed so much that it’s not so much a surprise to fit in with the guys because they’ve been amazing from day one for us.”
Delve, who also won last year’s People’s Choice Award, tried to deflect the attention from himself back onto the team who he says has made great strides this year.
“I was lucky enough last year to get the supporter’s award which blew me away, but to pick up two (awards) today in a team that’s gone so well and worked so hard for each other is amazing,” said Delve.
“But it all goes back to what we’ve done as a team this season. It’s nice to pick up the awards but it’s more about what we’ve done and the journey we’re on as a side.”
The big Number Eight was almost lost to Melbourne and Super Rugby when he came close to signing for a European club mid-season, but his love of the club and the city meant he extended his stay for another year at least.
“It’s a really difficult place to leave, “ said Delve.
“I sort of had one foot out the door earlier on in the year which was going to be really tough.
“But to be able to be a part of this for another year, and the journey we’ll take with the (British and Irish) Lions coming over next season is going to be massive for rugby in Melbourne.
“I think with the squad we’re putting together we could be knocking on the door of doing some big things.”
Cadeyrn Neville capped off a massive debut season in Super Rugby when he was awarded the Rookie of the Year and the Matt Cockbain Rising Rebel Medal.
His move from elite rowing at the Australian Institute of Sport to rugby has proven a huge success with selection in both the mid-season Wallabies train-on squad for the Test series against Wales, and the end of season Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship Series.
Other award winners included Adam Freier (Five Star Engagement Award), Tom Chamberlain (Spirit of Weary Dunlop Award), Warren Smith (Adam ‘Bear’ Nicholson Rebels of the Year Award) and Mark Gerrard (Try of the Year).
The lunch event also served as a final farewell for many departing Rebels who are retiring, or seeking new opportunities next year.
Al Campbell, Adam Freier, Michael Lipman and Stirling Mortlock have all hung up the boots, while Adam Byrnes (Russia), Tom Chamberlain (New Zealand), Mark Gerrard (Japan), Julian Huxley (France), James Hilgendorf and Heath Tessmann will all pursue their careers elsewhere in 2013.
Rod Macqueen Pursuit of Excellence – GARETH DELVE
The player that best exemplifies the pursuit of excellence in all that he does - an excellent player who represents the pledge on & off the field, an excellent clubman and an excellent citizen of Melbourne.
People’s Choice Award – GARETH DELVE
The best player for 2012 as voted for by the fans.
Five Star Engagement Award – ADAM FREIER
The player that best engages in all aspects of the community, schools, clubs, charity, and business programme.
Spirit of Weary Dunlop Award – TOM CHAMBERLAIN
The player that best exemplifies the spirit of Weary Dunlop by defending the line against all odds, never giving in, helping others, and enduring great hardship on field.
Adam Nicholson Rebel of the Year – WARREN SMITH
The person that best exemplifies the Philosophy of the Rebels around the club. Open to players, staff and volunteers.
Try of the Year – MARK GERRARD (Rd 5 v Force at AAMI Park)
Can be awarded to the player that sets the try up, voted for by rugby journalists.
Rookie of the Year – CADEYRN NEVILLE
Best first year player having played no more than 10 games in the Super Rugby Competition or equivalent European competition, prior to season 2012
REBEL RUGBY AWARDS
Matt Cockbain Rising Rebel Medal 2012 – CADEYRN NEVILLE
Rebel Rising Best Player 2012 – NIC STIRZAKER
Rebel Rising Best Player from Melbourne Competition Medal 2012 – AFA AMOSA