In a prestigious event held at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, Blake Lawrie was honored as the recipient of the 2023 Dragons Medal. This award recognises Lawrie’s outstanding performance throughout the NRL season and solidifies his position as the Player of the Year for the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Adding to his impressive list of accolades, Lawrie also received the Red V Members Player of the Year and the Community Involvement Award. These awards highlight his significant contributions both on and off the field, showcasing his leadership qualities and dedication to his community.
Lawrie’s performance on the field was nothing short of exceptional. The 26-year-old played in 22 games and displayed a career-high average of 135 run meters per game. His defensive prowess was also evident, with an impressive 680 total tackles made at an efficiency rate of 94 percent.
Lawrie’s impact on the team was also recognised by the coaching staff, as he earned his first captaincy nod in Round 19 against the Canberra Raiders. This demonstrates his leadership abilities and the respect he commands within the team.
While Lawrie stood out among his teammates, other players were also acknowledged for their exceptional seasons. Jack De Belin was awarded the Immortals Trophy, which recognises his unwavering commitment, dedication, and attitude towards his rugby league preparation, training, and performance. The 32-year-old made 16 appearances during the season, averaging 115 run meters per game and making 691 tackles with an efficiency rate of 96 percent. He also captained the team for the first time in Round 13 against the Dolphins.
Toby Couchman received the Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy for NRL Emerging Talent. This award commemorates the tragic passing of former Dragon and Steeler, Geoff Selby, in 1989. Couchman, a 19-year-old Thirroul Butchers junior, made his NRL debut in the season opener against the Titans. Throughout the season, he played 15 games and scored two tries. Notably, Couchman was joined in the top grade by his twin brother Ryan, marking a significant milestone for the siblings.
Several other players received recognition for their contributions. Alex Lobb was named the NSW Cup Player of the Year, while Zane Musgrove earned the NSW Cup Coach’s Award. Ben Johnson was awarded the Paul McGregor Trophy for Jersey Flegg Cup Player of the Year, and Tyrell Fuimaono received the Mark Coyne Trophy for Career Development. Scott Stewart was recognised as the Club Person of the Year for his invaluable support in improving players’ wellbeing and career prospects.
Additionally, two players reached significant milestones during the season. Ben Hunt played his 300th NRL game during Round 11 against the Cowboys, while Jack De Belin achieved the feat of 200 NRL games, all for the Dragons, in Round 17 against the Warriors.
Lastly, the Dragons Medal recipient list, which includes illustrious names from the club’s history, was updated with Blake Lawrie‘s name. Lawrie joins past winners such as Jamie Ainscough, Trent Barrett, Shaun Timmins, and Ben Hornby, among others.
The Dragons‘ annual presentation night was a celebration of individual and team achievements, bringing together past and present players to honour their contributions to the club’s rich history.