Canberra Raiders stars Josh Papalii and Jack Wighton have been named joint 2020 Meninga Medal winners, having finished on atop the voting for the club’s player of the year award at a subdued in-house ceremony last night.
Wighton took home his first Meninga Medal after another stellar season from the Raiders five-eighth, while for Papalii he takes home his fourth overall and third consecutive Meninga Medal.
The 2020 Meninga Medal presentation took on a different look, with the event hosted in-house at the Huawei Raiders Centre in Braddon, with only members of the club’s bubble able to attend the presentation.
The event was streamed through the clubs Facebook page so club sponsors, members and fans could experience the event.
The Meninga Medal is awarded annually to the club’s best player, with voting for the top honour conducted by the players and football staff weekly on a 3-2-1 basis.
Two of Canberra’s most consistent performers over the past two seasons, Papalii and Wighton will be two of the first players picked for Queensland and NSW respectively when State of Origin rolls around in November.
They’ll both look to lead their team into the second round of the finals when they host the Cronulla Sharks in a do-or-die clash at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
At the end of 20 rounds Papalii and Wighton each finished on 15 votes, with ever-consistent back-rower Elliott Whitehead placing second just two votes behind on 13.
Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad placed third in the Meninga Medal voting on 10 points, while Ryan Sutton and Joe Tapine finished equal fourth on nine votes apiece
Sutton was presented with the Coaches Award for his outstanding season and application to the team, while winger Semi Valemei collected the club’s Rookie of the Year award.
After another strong season Dunamis Lui was presented with the Club Person of the Year award for his work both on and off the field for the club, with his leadership and guidance for the club’s younger players rewarded.
Lui has taken his game to a new level in 2020, bringing new elements into his game like one-on-one stripping and more ballplaying while remaining rock solid defensively.
Returned local product Matt Frawley collected the club’s Welfare and Education award for his ongoing commitment to a career post-football in finance, as he continues to study a Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking.