St George Illawarra Dragons captain Gareth Widdop named club's 2017 player of the year

Player of the year: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop was named his side's best player for the 2017 season. Picture: John Veage
Player of the year: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop was named his side's best player for the 2017 season. Picture: John Veage

St George Illawarra captain Gareth Widdop was voted the Dragons’ best for 2017, winning the player of the year medal at the club’s annual presentation on Sunday night.

Widdop, who signed a four-year contract extension with the Dragons in April, was outstanding in the opening three months of the season to lead St George Illawarra to the top of the table before suffering a knee injury.

The England international returned to help the Dragons push for a top eight spot, only to fall short on the final day of the regular season. 

The award was voted on by the players and coaching staff which capped a strong personal campaign for Widdop, who was also named the Rugby League Players’ Association five-eighth of the year.

The 28-year-old is likely to line-up in the halves alongside star recruit Ben Hunt next season, with Hunt to join from Brisbane.

Prop Paul Vaughan, who will represent the Prime Minister’s XIII on Saturday, was also recognised for his outstanding season at Doltone House, Pyrmont, taking home the Red V Members player of the year and Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy.

Best of the red V: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop. Picture: Gregg Porteous/St George Illawarra Dragons

Best of the red V: Dragons captain Gareth Widdop. Picture: Gregg Porteous/St George Illawarra Dragons

Another of the club’s new signings, Cameron McInnes, was awarded the Dragons Immortals Trophy.

Reigning NRL Ken Stephen Medallist Joel Thompson won his third-straight Dragons Community Involvement Award and also took home the Mark Coyne Trophy for career development. The back-rower is studying a Diploma of Leadership and Management as well as him undertaking work experience in the juvenile justice system.

Young Dragons back-rower Jackson Ford won the Paul McGregor Trophy as the under-20s player of the year while Luciano Leilua and Jack Payne took home the Illawarra player of the year and the Illawarra Coach's Award respectively.

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