Blockbusting North Queensland Toyota Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo has won consecutive Paul Bowman Medals after being named the 2017 Cowboy of the Year at the club’s Presentation Ball tonight.
Taumalolo, 24, won the club’s highest individual honour ahead of teammate Michael Morgan following another stellar season, where he became the first forward in the NRL to pass 5,000 running metres for the season.
Players were awarded points on a 3-2-1 basis over the course of the season, including the NRL Finals series, with Taumalolo polling votes consistently throughout the season.
The award has capped an outstanding two years for the young tyro, who was last year jointly named – alongside Melbourne’s Cooper Cronk – the best player in the game.
“Jason has again had a huge year,” said Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr.
“With a season-ending injury to our co-captain Matt Scott, Jason stepped up enormously, leading by example week-in, week-out.”
In front of teammates and special guests at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, Taumalolo was jointly awarded the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award, alongside Morgan, with the pair getting the same number of votes in the peer-voted honour.
“These two players had the unreserved respect and admiration of their teammates in what was a terrific year for the team,” Parr said.
“To get to a second grand final in three years with serious injuries to key players was a fantastic achievement and these two had a huge role to play in that.”
Morgan was also the recipient of the Coach’s Award, a new honour replacing the Most Improved Cowboy.
The 25-year-old Townsville junior was presented the gong by Paul Green.
A third honour – the publicly voted Townsville Bulletin Fans’ Choice Award – completed a big night for Morgan.
Bowen product Corey Jensen was named Rookie of the Year following a superb debut season where he played 17 games, including the grand final.
No-nonsense Under-20s centre Kurt Wiltshire was named the Cowboys’ National Youth Competition player of the year, the Alpha product beating out a host of higher-profile teammates.
Two players singled out for acknowledgement on the night – Scott Bolton and Ray Thompson – shared the Club Person of the Year award.
Bolton showed tremendous leadership as a senior forward throughout the season, and passed the 200-game mark during the year, the milestone triggering life membership at the club.
Thompson – who has now retired from playing – battled through injuries this year but played several games mid-season as the team was going through a rough run with injuries.
2017 Cowboys award winners:
• NYC Player of the Year: Kurt Wiltshire
• Club Person of the Year: Scott Bolton & Ray Thompson
• Rookie of the Year: Corey Jensen
• Townsville Bulletin Fans' Choice Award: Michael Morgan
• Coach's Award: Michael Morgan
• Players' Player of the Year: Jason Taumalolo & Michael Morgan
• Paul Bowman Medal for Cowboy of the Year: Jason Taumalolo