The Western Force has unveiled the Nathan Sharpe Medal that will be awarded for the first time at its annual Awards Night on Saturday, 27 July at Crown Casino. The medal will replace the previous Emirates Western Force’s Player of the Year Award, recognising the club’s most valuable player for that season. The award is determined by each member of the match day 22 voting for their peers on a 3, 2, 1 basis.
Sharpe, who retired last year, was the inaugural captain of the Emirates Western Force and previously held the record for most games (92) across seven seasons at the club – a record eclipsed this season by current Emirates Western Force captain Matt Hodgson.
In addition to etching out a stellar provincial career across a competition record 162 Super Rugby matches, Sharpe remains the Wallabies’ most-capped Test forward (116 Tests) and second only to George Gregan (139) on Australia’s all-time list of matches.
Sharpe’s 11-year international career saw him play three Rugby World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011) and was recognised in 2007 and 2012 with the John Eales Medal for the Wallabies’ player of the year.
Previous winners of the Emirates Western Force player of the year include Hodgson (2009 & 2010), Scott Staniforth (2006), Matt Giteau (2007), Ryan Cross (2008), David Smith (2011) and David Pocock (2012).
Sharpe says he’s honoured to be recognised in such a way by his beloved club.
“While I may have retired from playing with the Emirates Western Force last season they remain my club for life,” he said. “To be recognised in this way, I couldn’t think of a more humbling accolade.
“I’ve been impressed by what Michael Foley, Matt Hodgson and the team have achieved this season, particularly around their standards and culture.
“They’ve laid a very solid foundation to build on next season and I’m very excited about what the Force can achieve next season and beyond.”
RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry says the Nathan Sharpe Medal aims to honour the legacy that Sharpe provided the club and to inspire the player’s to achieve greatness.
“While our club has undergone considerable transition in the past 12 months, it’s important that we continue to acknowledge the history of the Emirates Western Force and Nathan Sharpe was such an integral piece of that history,” he said.
“The medal recognises the player that has consistently performed at their best throughout the season as voted by their teammates and Nathan’s leadership and efforts on the field during his time in the Force jersey was a true reflection of what this medal signifies.”
Other awards to be presented at the Emirates Western Force Awards Night, include Rising Star, Force Man and Members MVP.