Waratahs openside Flanker, Michael Hooper, has taken out the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year title securing 21 votes, four more than his two nearest challengers.
Hooper is the first Waratah to claim the coveted award since former Waratah’s openside and captain, Phil Waugh was crowned the Player of the Year 12 years ago in 2001.
The 21-year old who joined the Waratahs from the Brumbies at the start of 2013 season saw off fellow Number 7 and Wallabies Legend George Smith and the 2011 and 2012 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year Will Genia to claim the award.
Hooper polled votes in nine rounds of the competition, with four of those matches rated as man-of-the-match performances.
Trailing Smith into the final rounds of the season Hooper polled a man-of-the-match three points against the Brumbies in round 14 to pull one point behind Smith before overtaking him with another three points against the Crusaders in round 16.
Hooper ensured the title was his with a two point performance in the final round of the 2013 season when the Waratahs met the Reds.
The comeback fairy tale of the season, George Smith, finished the voting on 17-points polling votes in six matches, with five of them being acclaimed as man-of-the-match performances.
Reds scrumhalf Will Genia, who claimed the 2011 and 2012 titles also polled votes in six matches and like Smith registered five man-of-the-match efforts, leaving the pair tied for second place on 17-points.
Third place went to Rebels flyhalf, James O’Connor, who finished the season on 16-points after polling in eight matches, two of which saw him secure maximum points as man-of-the-match.
Roll of honour - PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2013 – Michael Hooper
2012 – Will Genia
2011 – Will Genia
2010 – Quade Cooper
2009 – George Smith
2008 – George Smith
2007 – George Smith
2006 – George Smith
2005 – Chris Latham
2004 – Chris Latham
2003 – Joe Roff & Chris Latham
2002 – Stirling Mortlock
2001 – Phil Waugh
2000 – Chris Latham
1999 – Joe Roff
1998 – Stephen Larkham & John Eales