NRL Chief Executive, Todd Greenberg has echoed congratulations from across the game to all winners announced at this evening's RLPA Players' Champion Awards.
Hosted annually, the awards honour the game's best players on and off the field, including naming and celebrating the NRL Academic Team of the Year, and the NRL's Indigenous and Pasifika Academic Award winners.
"This is a wonderful occasion to recognise our elite athletes and the hard work and effort they produce on and off the field, in front of millions of fans throughout the season," Mr Greenberg said.
"Our players are supported by a strong Association, celebrating its 40th year in 2019, and it's important to acknowledge the RLPA's success, along with some outstanding athletes and academics this evening."
Melbourne Storm player, Josh Addo-Carr received the NRL's Indigenous Academic Excellence Award, whilst Cronulla Sharks player, Jayson Bukuya won the NRL's Pasifika Academic Excellence Award.
A full list of the NRL Academic Team of the Year (including the player's studies) is below, with Wests Tigers player, Russell Packer taking home the Male Academic Player of the Year Award and Sydney Roosters player, Vanessa Foliaki awarded the Female Academic Player of the Year Award.
NRL Wellbeing & Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall confirmed that 87% of players are currently engaged in career development, with the number increasing.
"It's pleasing to see such a high number of players combining football with study or work," Mr Heptonstall said.
"Research confirms that players with a balanced life perform more consistently than those with a sole focus.
"The courses that our players undertake are varied and it's great to see so many of them enjoying their rugby league and studies together."
The 2019 RLPA & NRL Awards full list of winners are:
NRL Players' Champion: James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
NRLW Players' Champion: Jessica Sergis (St George Illawarra Dragons)
The Dennis Tutty Award: David Gower (Parramatta Eels)
Rookie of the Year: Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
The Players' 13 Dream Team:
- James Tedesco
- Maika Sivo
- Latrell Mitchell
- Will Hopoate
- Daniel Tupou
- Cameron Munster
- Daly Cherry-Evans
- Payne Haas
- Cameron Smith
- Josh Papalii
- John Bateman
- Kenny Bromwich
- Jake Trbojevic
Male Academic Player of the Year: Russell Packer (Wests Tigers)
Female Academic Player of the Year: Vanessa Foliaki (Sydney Roosters)
Indigenous Academic Excellence Award: Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
Pasifika Academic Excellence Awards: Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla Sharks)
Academic Team of the Year:
Vanessa Foliaki (Currently completing a Bachelor of Psychology, Massey University)
Matthew Lodge (Completed a Diploma of Business and currently completing a Bachelor of Business, Swinburne University)
James Tamou (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry and Cert III & IV in fitness and completed small Business, EABS)
Will Hopoate (Completed a Diploma of Community Services and Cert IV in Community, Granville TAFE)
Brett Morris (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry and Completed cert iv in small business, Gymea TAFE)
Daniel Alvaro (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry, Meadowbank TAFE)
Toafofoa Sipley (Completed a Bachelor of Education in High School teaching, University of Auckland)
Jamie Buhrer (Currently completing a Bachelor in Sports Business Management, ACPE)
Coen Hess (Currently doing Master of Business Administration and completed a Diploma of Hospitality and Diploma of Business Management, CQU)
Chanel Harris-Tavita (Currently completing a Bachelor of Business, Auckland University of Technology)
Keegan Hipgrave (Currently completing a Bachelor of Business, QUT)
Russell Packer (Currently completing a Masters Business Administration, UNSW)
Robbie Rochow (Currently completing a Bachelor of Engineering, UNSW)
The NRL Players' Champion Honour Roll:
2019 James Tedesco
2018 Kalyn Ponga
2017 James Tedesco
2016 Jason Taumalolo
2015 Johnathan Thurston
2014 Johnathan Thurston
2013 Johnathan Thurston
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
2004 Danny Buderus