What a tremendous end to the season, both for the Wallabies and for this competition. Those who have been following the points tally may well be aware that the competition came down to the very last test against Wales.
As a reminder, after every test of the season Green and Gold Rugby readers at the forum assigned 3-2-1 points to their top three Wallaby performers per game. These points were then tallied each game with an ultimate top three players, a Man of the Match and two runners up, being decided. This award is the accumulation of those points.
All in all there were fifteen different players who polled points, and we had three different players taking home the series awards. George Smith won the Domestic Test Series award, Benn Robinson claimed the Tri-Nations award whilst David Pocock snagged the Spring Tour award in a count back from Wycliff Palu. But in the end it was the most experienced man in the Wallaby camp, George Smith who took out the ultimate award.
Hear his acceptance speech when Gagger presented him with this prestigious and highly coveted award:
In a tight finish Smith held off loose head prop Benn Robinson to take out the ultimate award. Fat Cat Robinson perhaps suffered from his own success not receiving a single vote on the Spring Tour. Perhaps our readers have just come to expect his brilliance every game that we now judge him more harshly? Regardless, it is hard to suggest there has been a more consistent player than George Smith throughout the season.
Smith starred right from the start picking up a Man of the Match award against France to enable him to win the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Domestic Test Series. Whilst Robinson starred in the Tri-Nations, being judged the best Wallaby everytime they played the Springboks, Smith continued to impress. Maximum points against the All Blacks in both Auckland and Sydney had Smith finish runner-up to Robinson in the G&GR Wallaby Player of the Tri-Nations, despite player ‘out of position’ with the 8 on his back.
When the Wallabies arrived in Tokyo for the start of the Spring Tour both Smith and Robinson were dead even on 13 points each, Robinson receiving all of his in the Tri-Nations. With Robinson in form and Smith seemingly out of favour and starting on the bench, the good money was on the Wallaby Loose Head Prop to take home the title. But that would underestimate the determination and sheer professionalism and commitment of Smith.
With the young bull, David Pocock, playing out of his skin and picking up the Player of the Match gong against Ireland, Smith knew he had to take his chances whenever he got them. A single point against Scotland, a match in which Robinson went off injured, gave George a slim edge. Robinson’s gutsy effort to play against Wales though, would throw down the challenge. Who would come out on top? Robinson put in a monstor effort, in cohorts with fellow prop Ben Alexander. And although Pocock again would be named Man of the Match, it was Smith’s role off the bench in continuing the breakdown carnage started by Pocock, that would see him pick up another point.
The final table stands as follows: