The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have today announced their Award Winners for season 2021, and also paid tribute to the players who will leave the club at season’s end.
Due to COVID, the club was unable to hold a formal Awards Ceremony, but took to social media to confirm all this year’s winners.
Club captain Josh Jackson was named the 2021 Dr George Peponis Player of the Year.
In his tenth season of first grade and his fourth as captain, Jackson led from the front every week and overcame a calf injury during the year to appear in 17 matches, making 786 tackles and averaging 113 running metres per game.
Throughout season 2021, the 30-year old spent time in the back-row, as well as playing that link middle forward role wearing the number 13 jersey.
He is the heart and soul of the Bulldogs. He is a player everyone wants to play with. He leads by his actions. He is selfless, hard-working and one of the most respected leaders and players within the game.
2021 Player of the Year: Josh Jackson
In his second season of first grade, local junior Jake Averillo collected the 2021 Coaches Award, after claiming the club’s Rookie of the Year award in 2020.
Playing in the halves, Averillo was impressive in his second NRL season and appeared in 21 games for the club.
A brilliant runner of the ball, the 21-year old scored seven tries and came up with six try assists, eight line breaks, as well as 33 tackle breaks.
An outstanding talent who has a bright future at the club.
2021 Coaches Award: Jake Averillo
Season 2021, saw six players make their NRL debuts for the club, with Bailey Biondi-Odo claiming the Steve Mortimer Rookie of the Year.
Biondi-Odo joined Jackson Topine, Aaron Schoupp, Chris Patolo, Brad Deitz and Falakiko Mnau, who all took to the NRL field for the first time in their careers.
Hailing from Innisfail, the 19-year old made his debut in round 16 against the Manly Sea Eagles and went on to play nine games for the year.
He is a player that offers speed and toughness, and someone who is versatile enough to cover both the half and hooker positions.
An impressive young man who scored two tries, came up with five forced dropouts and re-signed with the club for a further two seasons keeping him at Belmore until the end of 2023.
2021 Rookie of the Year: Bailey Biondi-Odo
Away from the football field, Raymond Faitala-Mariner was awarded the Peter Warren Medal for his Service to the Community.
Nominated for the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal, Faitala-Mariner is a proud Samoan and New Zealand international who has a passion for serving others in his community.
Raymond’s interest in striving to give back to his community is focused on those less fortunate and his work in the community is shaped by his religious beliefs.
The back-rower stands out amongst others due to the unique way he unites players and staff together, to become involved with his community service. The leadership and positive inclusivity he has brought to his community work shaped a shared vision, unity and collaborative approach within the Bulldogs.
2021 Community Service Award: Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Meanwhile, Head Physiotherapist, Adrian Low, was a well-deserved recipient of the Clubperson of the Year Award.
He began working with the club in 2015 as an assistant to the Club’s Physiotherapist, before becoming the club’s Head Physiotherapist in 2019.
A hard worker who is often the first in at Belmore and the last to leave, he is always on hand for the players.
He has a great relationship with the playing group and his sacrifice and dedication to the job was shown recently when he left his family in Sydney to be a part of the NRL hub on the Gold Coast.
On top of these awards, a host of players celebrated Milestones throughout the season.
- Adam Elliott - 100 Bulldogs NRL games (Round 22 v Warriors)
- Adam Elliott - 150 Bulldogs Club games (Round 3 v Broncos)
- Nick Cotric - 100 NRL games (Round 7 v Sharks)
- Dylan Napa - 50 Bulldogs NRL and Club games (Round 18 v Rabbitohs)
- Nick Meaney - 50 NRL games (Round 9 v Dragons)
- Nick Meaney - 50 Bulldogs NRL games (Round 15 v Eels)
- Nick Meaney – 50 Bulldogs Club games (Round 12 v Panthers)
- Corey Waddell – 50 NRL Games (Round 17 v Roosters)
- Tui Katoa – 50 Bulldogs Club games (Round 2 Mounties v Panthers)
The season also saw Corey Allan, Nick Cotric, Kyle Flanagan, Jack Hetherington, Corey Waddell, Ava Seumanufagai, Ryan James and Corey Horsburgh make their Club debuts for the Bulldogs.
From a Representative point of view - Chris Smith, Dallin Watene-Zeleniak, Jeremy Marshall-King and Jackson Topine, all featured in the 10-all draw between the Indigenous and Maori All Stars played earlier in the season.
Finally, the club would like to say thank you to the departing Dylan Napa, Will Hopoate, Lachlan Lewis, Nick Meaney, Renouf Atoni, Sione Katoa, Dean Britt, Chris Smith, James Roumanos, Brad Deitz, Watson Heleta, Kiko Manu and Adam Elliott. Their efforts while in the blue and white are greatly appreciated.
2021 Departing Players