As a player there are two things that you are always striving for – a premiership and the respect of your peers.
These two basic concepts have not changed since the beginning of our great game.
While the first is simply measured, the second is a concept you strive for your entire career. You compete fiercely on a weekly basis, committing countless acts of courage which on occasion lead to nasty injuries, however by doing this you can leave the game with no regrets, because you know this is what it takes to ensure you can hold your head high.
“The demands of the game, style of play, the acts of courage, the selflessness, the sacrifices; only players can truly understand what it takes.”
You want the respect of your peers, and while this is a difficult thing to measure or bottle, you know what it takes to earn it – tremendous skill, leadership, ferocious attack on the contest, ability to inspire and most of all courage.
These are the characteristics by which players judge each other and this is why the Players’ MVP is such a prestigious award – because it is truly the Players’ award.
I am honoured to have had my name associated with this award, and am proud that it is the players who have the final say as ultimately they are the ones who know what it takes.
The game is followed by millions of people, it’s analysed by hundreds of journalists, umpired and coached to within an inch of its life but it is only the blokes that run out across that white line week in week out who can truly understand what it means to play the game in 2012.
The demands of the game, style of play, the acts of courage, the selflessness, the sacrifices; only players can truly understand what it takes.
This event embodies everything the Association strives for – it was created for players, by players. Previous generations of players fought hard to ensure players have a voice, and this event is testament to how far the Association has come.