Wycliff Palu wins Matthew Burke Cup again


HSBC Waratahs No.8 Wycliff Palu has won the Matthew Burke Cup for the second straight year after being voted the NSW players' player of the 2009 Super 14.

Palu received the award from Matthew Burke at the team's annual presentation in Sydney last night.


It is the first time any player has won the award twice since its inception in 2004.


Palu started the season on the bench against the Hurricanes after recovering from shoulder surgery in the off-season. He then went on to poll votes in 11 of the 13 matches throughout the course of the year, receiving the highest number of votes against the Brumbies in round five and against the Sharks in the penultimate match of the season.


Palu finished on 210 votes ahead of Phil Waugh on 177, the NSW skipper picking up the Best Forward award for the second straight year in addition to the same honour in 2005 and the inaugural Matthew Burke Cup in 2004.


Forwards filled the top five spots in polling, with Timana Tahu's form at the back end of the season driving the second-year centre to the Best Back award.


Lachie Turner polled the most votes in a single match with 53 against the Stormers, in a game which saw 15 of the 21 players who took the field receive votes.


Tahu was the only other player to notch 50 votes in a game which he polled against the Cheetahs in the opening match of the South African tour.


Prop Benn Robinson - who finished third overall - was the only player other than Palu to top the voting in more than one match, receiving the highest number of votes against Chiefs in round two and the Crusaders in round six.


Will Caldwell capped his best season to date by finishing fourth overall, receiving the most number of votes against the Bulls in round nine, and was one of only two players - along with Waugh - to receive votes in every match of the season. It capped a great year for Caldwell in which he also became the most capped NSW lock of all-time.


Each player in the 22-man match day squad submitted votes on a 3-2-1 basis after each round to determine the overall result.

2009 Matthew Burke Cup

1st Wycliff Palu 210
2nd Phil Waugh (Best Forward) 177
3rd Benn Robinson 152
4th Will Caldwell  143
5th Tatafu Polota-Nau 113
6th Timana Tahu (Best Back) 104
7th Sam Norton-Knight 91
8th Luke Burgess 88
9th Lachie Turner 87
10th Daniel Halangahu 73

Matthew Burke Cup Honour Roll

2009 Wycliff Palu
2008 Wycliff Palu
2007 Rocky Elsom
2006 Adam Freier
2005 Nathan Grey
2004 Phil Waugh

best forward - honour roll

2009 Phil Waugh
2008 Phil Waugh
2007 Adam Freier
2006 Dan Vickerman
2005 Phil Waugh
2004 Dan Vickerman

best back - honour roll

2009 Timana Tahu
2008 Lote Tuqiri
2007 Ben Jacobs
2006 Chris Whitaker
2005 Peter Hewat
2004 Chris Whitaker






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