2016’s Shute Shield Rookie of the Year, Irae Simone was offered an extended playing squad contract with the Waratahs following a standout season for the 2016 Championship side, Northern Suburbs. Simone made a name for himself in his debut first grade season at inside centre for Norths. He crossed for nine tries in his 21 matches for the side, playing a big hand in their first Shute Shield title in 41 years after defeating Sydney University 28-15. He finished the Shute Shield season ranked 13th highest in the try-scoring and points-scoring with eight conversions and five penalty goals, in addition to his nine tries, bringing his total overall points tally to 76.
Simone made a similar dominant display in the 2016 Buildcorp NRC season, continuing to show his ability to ease through defensive lines, finishing at the semi-final with four tries, 104 carries and 511 metres gained. He was recognised at the Sydney Rugby Union annual awards as the 2016 Rookie of the Year and Australian Rugby’s night of nights, the John Eales Medal as the Buildcorp NRC Player of the Year. He earned a further nomination as the Buildcorp NRC Players’ Player, as voted by his peers, as part of the RUPA’s yearly awards ceremony. The former New Zealand Schoolboys Under 18s representative moved to Australia in 2014 and spent two years in rugby league with South Sydney. He represented the Rabbitohs in the Auckland Nines that year and in every position in the backline in the Holden Cup competition.
Last updated: 5/02/2018