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Emerging Raiders star Mitch Barnett has been named as the VB NSW Cup Player of the Year at last night's Brad Fittler Medal after a tremendous season for Mounties.

On a night that recognised the achievements of players across all New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) teams and competitions, from Origin to seniors, juniors, women and Indigenous, as well as the contributions of referees and club officials, Barnett claimed the state competition's top award in front of more than 650 guests at Sydney’s The Star Event Centre.

Barnett has been consistently outstanding for Mounties in 2015 and was instrumental in leading the side to the Minor Premiership.

After winning the Minor Premiership, Mounties then went onto defeat the New Zealand Warriors 43-10 in the first round of semi-finals and will now take on the Newcastle Knights on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval. 

If Mounties defeats the Knights they then advance through to the VB NSW Cup Grand Final on Sunday, 27 September at Pirtek Stadium.

Along the way, Barnett was selected as a starting second-rower for the VB NSW Cup representative side and his eye-catching form ultimately led to him being chosen by Ricky Stuart to make his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers in Round 22.

The tough-as-nails Wingham Tigers junior retained his place in the NRL the following week before returning to Mounties.

In other awards, Canberra referee Martin Jones was awarded the Junior Representative Referee of the Year after his brilliant handling of various Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Canberra Raiders Cup fixtures throughout 2015.

“Tonight was a wonderful way to celebrate the success of rugby league in NSW, from the grassroots to the elite level,” said NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said.

“I congratulate all the award winners for their outstanding achievements. It’s truly a wonderful reflection on the organisation and its direction.”

A list of major award winners follows:




Harold Matthews Player of the Year

Fine Kula

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

SG Ball Player of the Year

Tom Starling

Newcastle Knights

Junior Representative Referee of the Year

Martin Jones

Canberra Refs Association

Grade Referee of the Year

Liam Nicholls

NSW Grade Squad

Ray Stellar Award (Club Person of the Year)

Paul Griffin

Hills District Bulls

KARI Indigenous Player of the Year

Zac Saddler

Leeton Greenies

NSWRL Welfare & Education Academic Award

Lionel O’Mally

Wentworthville Magpies

Sydney Shield Player of the Year

Ben Baker

East Campbelltown Eagles

Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year

Alofi Mataele

Concord Burwood Wolves

VB NSW Cup Player of the Year

Mitch Barnett


Under-20s State Player of the Year

Brian Kelly

Gold Coast Titans

Women’s Player of the Year

Simaima Taufa

PCYC Mount Druitt

The Daily Telegraph People’s Choice Award

Aaron Woods

NSW VB Blues (Wests Tigers)

True Blue Award

Robbie Farah

NSW VB Blues (Wests Tigers)

Brad Fittler Medal

Josh Dugan

NSW VB Blues (St George Illawarrra Dragons)



Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.