By Pat McLeod
Backline juggernaut Tautalatasi Tasi is the Bond University Rugby Club 2021 Player of the Year.
The powerful centre received the club’s top award, The Slipper Trophy, as well as the Best Back trophy, during a gala awards ceremony at the university tonight (Friday night), which spotlighted the club’s most successful season.
“Tautalatasi was a fitting and very popular winner,” said Bond University’s Director of Rugby, Luca Liussi. “His award was the highlight, but there were many reasons to celebrate tonight.
“This has been Bond Rugby’s breakout year on so many fronts, but the major highs were our women winning the Aon National Uni 7s and the club creating history by having four teams in the finals.”
More than 220 people attended the presentation night and the loudest cheer erupted when 26-year-old Tasi received his gong.
“Tasi had an outstanding season this year,” said Bond’s head coach Grant Anderson. “He was the form centre of the competition and should be playing at a higher level.
“The award is well deserved and shows he has the respect of the people he plays with. The award is decided on by the players. After each game the match-day 23 vote on who they thought was the player of the day – the players’ player.”
Anderson said Tasi had signed on for the Bull Sharks for next season.
“His signing is certainly a boost for us,” said Anderson. “He is such a powerful player who consistently gets us over the advantage line and also stiffens our defence in that first defensive channel. He also brings a lot of experience into the backline.
“He leads by example and not by words. Tasi is enormously well-liked by the playing group. He doesn’t say a lot, just gets out and does stuff.”
Another notable award was to Women’s 7s sensation Teagan Levi, who upstaged her older sister, Olympic Rugby 7s representative Maddison Levi, by winning the Player of the Aon National 7s trophy.
One of the club’s busiest off-field volunteers, Peter Jones, was recognized with the Fabian Fay Club Person of the Year award. An indication of Jones’ value to the club is the fact that this is the second time he has received the award. He was also named top clubman back in 2015.
“This year’s awards were our largest to date,” said Liussi. “It is great to see players, coaches, club support staff and board members take a breath and reflect on the year. And it is also rewarding to see the number of family members and supporters here tonight.
“The Bond Rugby family is growing.
“The presentation night also has a strong player stamp. Part of the club ethos is to involve players in almost every facet of what we do. MC tonight was Callum Ball, a long-time player and scholarship holder who was unable to put the boots on this year because of work commitments.
“Overall a very good night and a fitting full stop to the 2021 season.”
Bond University Rugby Club 2021 Awards:
Best Back: JOSHUA RADCLIFFE
Best Forward: RYVEN EWING
Best & Fairest: TYLER GILBERT
Best Back: ETHYN MARTIN
Best Forward: MARLON JONES
Best & Fairest: GEORGE NIELD
Best Back: TSHINTA KENDALL
Best Forward: LUCY LOCKHART
Best & Fairest: ALEENA GREENHALGH
Best Back: GUY WOLTON
Best Forward: MAX BOOTH
Best & Fairest: ANDICTOR PETELO
Best Back: LACHLAN MCINNES
Best Forward: TYLOR BUNTING
Best & Fairest: TYRELL KOPUA
Best Back: TAUTALATASI TASI
Best Forward: NIXON TARAMAI
The Slipper Trophy - Player of the Year: TAUTALATASI TASI
AON National Uni 7s
Player of the Series: TEAGAN LEVI
Fabian Fay Club Person of the Year
Stoten Pathway to Premier Trophy
Player of the Year: NIK MITCHELL