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Tedesco, McGregor crowned RLPA Players' Champions

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) has announced that Raecene McGregor and James Tedesco have been voted by their peers as The Players’ Champion winners for 2022.

The players have chosen Tedesco as their Champion for the third time, following his wins in 2017 and 2019.

Tedesco is now just one Players’ Champion award short of champion playmaker Johnathan Thurston, who won four times in 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The fullback secured The Players’ Champion ahead of fellow finalists Ben Hunt, Nicho Hynes, Joseph Manu and Cameron Munster. It caps off another incredible year for Tedesco on the field, where he led the competition in tackle breaks (169), was second in run metres (5,092), scored 13 tries, set up 12 tries and made 17 line breaks (the most of any fullback).

It is the first Players’ Champion award for McGregor, who was voted The Players’ Champion ahead of fellow NRLW finalists Sam Bremner, Isabelle Kelly, Keilee Joseph and Simaima Taufa. McGregor once again proved she is one of the most valuable and creative halves in the NRLW by notching 10 try assists and five line break assists in her five games for the Roosters.

This is the second Players’ Awards recognition for McGregor and Tedesco after both were selected in their positions for the Players’ Dream Team from the NRLW and NRL competitions.

Clint Newton, Chief Executive Officer of the RLPA, congratulated McGregor and Tedesco on their Players’ Champion accolades:

“On behalf of the RLPA, I would like to congratulate Raecene and James on this incredible recognition from their fellow players. To be named by your peers as The Players’ Champion and the best player in your competition for that season is a remarkable and humbling honour.

“James has been one of the most outstanding players in the NRL for a number of years now, excelling at every level of the game from club, to Origin and to the international game. The fact that he has now won three Players’ Champion awards and is only one short of Thurston’s record of four is a testament to the quality of player and person that he is.

“Raecene is still a young player, yet she plays with the craft and intelligence of a veteran. She has played in every season of the NRLW and has won three Premierships with the Brisbane Broncos and Roosters.

"This year, though, Raecene has proved why she is recognised as one of the best players in the game by producing a season to remember for her personally.

“I would also like to thank Channel Nine for partnering with the RLPA for the 2022 Players’ Awards, and their inclusion into the Grand Final broadcast coverage.

"Their support is crucial in elevating the award and ensuring the players’ achievements are celebrated as they deserve."

Lina Caccamo, the RLPA’s GM of Elite Women and International Relations, praised McGregor for receiving the honour of The Players’ Champion from the NRLW competition:

“Voting wouldn’t have been an easy exercise for the players considering the calibre of competition this season. The Players’ Awards ethos is respect meeting rivalry, and the players in the NRLW competition have a huge amount of respect for each other.

“The players recognise the dedication and the sacrifices every player makes to give back to rugby league and play in the NRLW competition. Raecene certainly epitomises everything that The Players’ Champion award is about on and off the field.

“It is a huge honour to be voted by your fellow players as their Players’ Champion, and the RLPA congratulates Raecene on this ultimate recognition by her peers.”

Most Players’ Champion awards:

  • 4 - Johnathan Thurston
  • 3 - James Tedesco

The Players’ Champion from the NRL

  • 2022 - James Tedesco (3)
  • 2021 - Tom Trbojevic
  • 2020 - Nathan Cleary
  • 2019 - James Tedesco (2)
  • 2018 - Kalyn Ponga
  • 2017 - James Tedesco (1)
  • 2016 - Jason Taumalolo
  • 2015 - Johnathan Thurston (4)
  • 2014 - Johnathan Thurston (3)
  • 2013 - Johnathan Thurston (2)
  • 2012 - Ben Barba
  • 2011 - Akuila Uate
  • 2010 - Darius Boyd
  • 2009 - Jarryd Hayne
  • 2008 - Braith Anasta & Petero Civoniceva
  • 2007 - Matt Bowen
  • 2006 - Ben Kennedy
  • 2005 - Johnathan Thurston (1)
  • 2004 - Danny Buderus

The Players’ Champion from the NRLW

  • 2022 - Raecene McGregor
  • 2021 - Emma Tonegato
  • 2020 - Hannah Southwell
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