After a stellar 2021 season, Plus500 Brumbies backrower Rob Valetini has been honoured with the club’s Brett Robinson Players’ Player of the Year award.
In his fourth season at the club, Valetini started in every game for the Brumbies, playing a starring role in both attack and defence.
The 23-year-old becomes the second-youngest winner of the Brumbies most prestigious award behind ten-time recipient George Smith who first claimed the honour in 2001.
A prodigious schoolboy talent, Valetini joined the Brumbies straight out of School, making his debut for the club against the Sunwolves in round one of the 2018 season.
Brumbies members also recognised Valetini’s performances in 2020, voting the Wallaby as Members’ choice, Player of the Year.
Plus500 Brumbies backrower Rob Valetini said: "It's an honour to receive this award and join some of the greats who have held it before."
"I had some honest conversations with the coaches before this season and I went into it wanting to do my best for the team and perform more consistently.
“Playing a team sport is never about individual awards but to be recognised by my teammates and our members is extremely special.
“The challenge now is to continue to deliver on and off the field and I’m already really excited about being involved in the Super Rugby Pacific competition next year.”
Tom Banks took home his second Best Back award having previously held the honour in 2018, the fullback scoring seven tries and playing every minute for the Brumbies in 2021.
Lock Cadeyrn Neville was named Best Forward in his second season at club, his dominant displays in Super Rugby AU recognised by the Brumbies coaching staff.
ACT local Lachlan Lonergan was awarded the coveted Shawn Mackay Young Talent Award for the Brumbies after a breakout season in 2021 which saw the hooker make his first start for the club in the Super Rugby AU Grand-Final.
2019 saw the introduction of the Christian Lealiifano Spirit of the Brumbies award. Named to honour Lealiifano’s impact on the Brumbies, both on and off the field, the Spirit of the Brumbies award honours a player who exemplifies the Brumbies ethos in everything they do.
The 2021 recipient Darcy Swain was selected for the distinction for his outstanding commitment to the Brumbies core pillars, which have culminated in his selection for the Wallabies this season.
In his first professional season, Bathurst-born lock Tom Hooper was named as both the Graham Gordan Memorial Trophy for the ACT Best and Fairest U20's Player and the Brumbies’ Canberra Milk Community Engagement award winner, showcasing his class on and off the field.
Plus500 Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said: "On behalf of the coaching staff and our High Performance team, I want to congratulate all the winners for their achievements this season.”
"Rob joined us as a teenager out of high school and this year we got to see a glimpse of just how good he can be.
“His application to improving every day on and off the field has been pleasing to see and his hard work in preseason and training showed through on game day.
"He's a tremendous talent, still a young man and after a few years of bad luck with injuries, we're all just really happy for Rob to join a list of quality players who have won this award."
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Brett Robinson Players’ Player Award: ROB VALETINI
Members Choice: ROB VALETINI
Plus500 Brumbies Best back: TOM BANKS
Plus500 Brumbies Best Forward Award: CADEYRN NEVILLE
Shawn Mackay Most Outstanding Young Talent Award: LACHLAN LONERGAN
Christian Lealiifano Spirit of the Brumbies: DARCY SWAIN
Canberra Milk Community Engagement Award: TOM HOOPER
Graham Gordan Memorial Trophy for the ACT Best and Fairest U20's Player: TOM HOOPER
PREVIOUS BRETT ROBINSON AWARD WINNERS
1996 - Owen Finnegan
1997 - George Gregan
1998 - Stephen Larkham
1999 - George Gregan
2000 - Jim Williams
2001 - George Smith
2002 - Stirling Mortlock
2003 - George Smith
2004 - George Smith
2005 - George Smith
2006 - George Smith
2007 - George Smith
2008 - George Smith
2009 - George Smith
2010 - George Smith
2011 - Matt Giteau
2012 - Stephen Moore
2013 - George Smith
2014 - Jarrad Butler
2015 - David Pocock
2016 - Christian Lealiifano
2017 - Henry Speight
2018 - Rory Arnold
2019 - Allan Alaalatoa
2020 – Allan Alaalatoa