Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie and halfback Luke Brooks have both claimed the club’s Kelly-Barnes Medal for the 2021 NRL Player of the Year Award.
The pair finished level on points narrowly ahead of Adam Doueihi, Stefano Utoikamanu and Luciano Leilua to both be named the club’s Player of the Year — marking the first time since 2005 (Scott Prince and Brett Hodgson) that two players have finished on equal points.
For Laurie, the recognition caps off a superb first season for Wests Tigers that also saw him finish as a finalist in both the NRL Rookie of the Year and Players’ Player Award.
Playing in 19 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, the 22-year-old excelled in his rookie season at fullback with 17 try involvements and over 130 running metres per game. Having played just three games prior to the start of the 2021 campaign, Laurie’s breakout season was a true highlight for the club throughout the season, with the long-term number one set to take his game to another level with Wests Tigers in 2022.
His co-award winner in Luke Brooks also enjoyed another strong season where he appeared in every match for Wests Tigers, including several games as captain.
A proud local junior of the club, Brooks finished the season with 23 try assists (a career-high) while also becoming just the 12th player at the time to reach 150 games for Wests Tigers.
Brooks is the first player since Gareth Ellis to claim the Kelly-Barnes Medal three times — having done so previously in 2018 and 2019 — while Laurie is the first player since Ellis’ 2009 campaign win the player of the year award in his first season with the club.
2021 NRL Rookie of the Year Award
Having finished a close third in the Player of the Year voting, local junior Adam Doueihi was voted by his teammates as the NRL Players’ Player while Stefano Utoikamanu’s strong season was rewarded in him taking out the club's Rookie of the Year Award.
The club’s nominee for the 2021 Ken Stephen Medal, Doueihi was also recognised for his outstanding community work with the Wayne Pearce Community Award.
Rookie halfback Jock Madden was named the club’s Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Player of the Year — having led the competition in points scored before the season was suspended — while Thomas Freebairn took out the Players’ Player Award.
In Jersey Flegg, hooker Rua Ngatikaura was named the Player of the Year while Liam Scolari picked up the Players’ Player Award for the undefeated Wests Tigers side.
Maori All Stars representative Page McGregor capped off her strong season with the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Player of the Year while local junior Emily Curtain — who finished as a finalist in the Player of the Year Award — won the Players’ Player Award.
2021 Wayne Pearce Community Award
Wests Tigers Video Analyst and former player Simon Dwyer was named the Club Person of the Year while Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership player Teagan Toa Toa was named the Woman of the Year — both deserved winners for their outstanding commitment and contributions to Wests Tigers.
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe extended his congratulations to all the award winners, as well as those involved with the club throughout the year.
“On behalf of all at Wests Tigers, I’d like to congratulate all our award winners and nominees from the 2021 season,” Pascoe said. “It has once again been filled with a number of challenges with competitions ending early and relocating to Queensland, but I could not be prouder of the resilience and commitment shown by all involved with the club.
“In particular, I’d like to congratulate both Daine and Luke on their award which is a great recognition for their hard work and excellence throughout the year.
“Both Daine and Luke are an incredibly important part of our club, and we look forward to watching them perform in a Wests Tigers jersey for many years to come.”
Wests Tigers 2021 Kelly-Barnes Awards
- Kelly-Barnes Medal — Daine Laurie and Luke Brooks
- NRL Players’ Player — Adam Doueihi
- NRL Rookie of the Year — Stefano Utoikamanu
- NSW Cup Player of the Year — Jock Madden
- NSW Cup Players’ Player — Thomas Freebairn
- Jersey Flegg Player of the Year — Rua Ngatikaura
- Jersey Flegg Players’ Player — Liam Scolari
- NSW Women’s Premiership Player of the Year — Page McGregor
- NSW Women’s Premiership Players’ Player — Emily Curtain
- Wayne Pearce Community Award — Adam Doueihi
- Wests Tigers Club Person of the Year — Simon Dwyer
- Wests Tigers Woman of the Year — Teagan Toa Toa
2021 Milestones and Achievements
Jake Simpkin — Rd.6 v Rabbitohs, Stadium Australia (Wests Tigers #242)
Zac Cini — Rd.8 v Dragons, WIN Stadium (Wests Tigers #243)
Jock Madden — Rd.10 v Knights, Suncorp Stadium (Wests Tigers #244)
Junior Pauga — Rd.18 v Broncos, Suncorp Stadium (Wests Tigers #247)
Tuki Simpkins — Rd.18 v Broncos, Suncorp Stadium (Wests Tigers #248)
Kelma Tuilagi — Rd.20 v Warriors, Suncorp Stadium (Wests Tigers #249)
Wests Tigers Debuts
Daine Laurie — Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium (Wests Tigers #237)
James Roberts — Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium (Wests Tigers #238)
James Tamou — Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium (Wests Tigers #239)
Joe Ofahengaue — Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium (Wests Tigers #240)
Stefano Utoikamanu — Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium (Wests Tigers #241)
Tom Amone — Rd.12 v Dragons, Bankwest Stadium (Wests Tigers #245)
Ken Maumalo — Rd.15 v Storm, Sunshine Coast Stadium (Wests Tigers #246)
James Roberts — 150 NRL games (Rd.1 v Raiders, GIO Stadium)
Luke Brooks — 150 games for Wests Tigers (Rd.2 v Roosters, Campbelltown Stadium)
David Nofoaluma — 150 games for Wests Tigers (Rd.11 v Warriors, Central Coast Stadium)
Moses Mbye — 150 NRL games (Rd.16 v Rabbitohs, Leichhardt Oval)
David Nofoaluma — All-time leading try scorer (Rd.18 v Broncos, Suncorp Stadium)
Botille Vette-Welsh — Maori All Stars (Women)
Raecene McGregor — Maori All Stars (Women)
Page McGregor — Maori All Stars (Women)
Russell Packer — Maori All Stars (Men)
Zane Musgrove — Maori All Stars (Men)
Joe Ofahengaue — Queensland State of Origin (Men)
Botille Vette-Welsh — New South Wales State of Origin (Women)
Michael Chee Kam — 89 games for Wests Tigers, 2016-21 (Wests Tigers #194)
Russell Packer — 33 games for Wests Tigers, 2018-21 (Wests Tigers #210)
Moses Mbye — 63 games for Wests Tigers, 2018-21 (Wests Tigers #218)
Joey Leilua — 21 games for Wests Tigers, 2020-21 (Wests Tigers #226)
Billy Walters — 10 games for Wests Tigers, 2020-21 (Wests Tigers #228)