Bull Sharks excitement machine Rhian Stowers has capped an exceptional return to Bond University by claiming the 2023 Alec Evans Medal as Queensland Premier Rugby’s Player of the Year.
The former Bond University Sports Management student is the club’s third winner of QPR’s highest individual honour.
Although the Bull Sharks missed out on Sunday’s Grand Final at Balllymore, the club collected a swag of gongs at the annual awards ceremony in Brisbane on Wednesday morning.
Hamish Roberts won the top point-scorer award (168) while captain Lachlan Connors made multiple trips to the stage to collect the Keith Horsley Trophy as minor premiers and the Thomas Welsby Cup which is contested between the two clubs who rank one and two on the ladder at the halfway point of the season when all teams have met each other once.
Connors, a former John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship holder who graduated with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetic Practices in June, was also recognised for finishing in the top five of the Alec Evans Medal.
Bond’s Director of Rugby Luca Liussi said Stowers had provided a spark for the Bull Sharks and had quickly become a fan favourite for his attacking style of play while the other awards were recognition of the improvements the side had made in 2023.
“It has been terrific having Rhian back at the club this year, he is a great talent and you can feel the buzz from the crowd at The Canal when he gets the ball,” he said.
“And I think the attacking opportunities he and Hamish get demonstrate that we’ve built a game style that suits our list and the whole team contribute to that.”
The Alec Evans Medal is decided by the Queensland Rugby Referee Association (QRRA) who deliver 3,2,1 votes to the best performers after each game.
Stowers topped the tally with 19 votes to narrowly pip Easts scrumhalf Eli Pilz (18 votes) while Souths flanker and captain Kohan Herbert (16) was third.
Stowers polled votes in seven of his 16 games, including five three-vote performances.
Stowers returned to Bond University for the 2023 season after stints for Eastwood in Sydney rugby’s Shute Shield competition and in rugby league for the Southport Tigers.
His return to the StoreLocal Hospital Cup saw him rank equal fifth in the competition for tries and seventh overall for points. He also ranked first for defenders beaten and second for line breaks.