Knights prop Daniel Saifiti may be a co-captain and own a NSW Blues jersey but brother Jacob can now boast he has something his twin doesn't have - a Danny Buderus Medal.
Jacob was last night crowned the club's player of the year at their resort base on the Sunshine Coast after the Knights' 2021 premiership campaign came to an end on Sunday in Rockhampton at the hands of the Parramatta Eels.
Saifiti was presented with the award by the man himself, Knights' head of football Danny Buderus, at a function attended by the playing squad, coaching and support staff, partners and family members.
In winning this year's medal, Saifiti ended the recent dominance of teammates Kalyn Ponga and Mitch Barnett, both dual winners who have won the past four player of the year awards between them.
Among the other big winners on the night included the departing Connor Watson, who was voted players' player, while Jayden Brailey picked up the Once a Knight Old Boys gladiator title and Brodie Jones was named rookie of the year.
The Danny Buderus Medal is voted on by coach Adam O'Brien and his assistant coaches with points polled on a 3,2,1 basis, Dally M-style, after every game.
O'Brien said Saifiti took his game to another level this year and will be knocking on the door of much higher honours in 2022.
"He's taken another big step forward from last year and I thought he was outstanding for us," O'Brien said. "Sitting here right now, it's impossible for me to think of a game where I was disappointed in him.
"The difference between Jacob's best game and his worst game was very minimal."
While he may not have been under the same spotlight during the season as Origin stars Ponga and brother Daniel, O'Brien says Saifiti is a worthy winner of the club's most prestigious award.
"The team-first stuff that he does goes unnoticed in a lot of games," the coach said.
"Sometimes those sort of guys don't get the fan poll points but gee, they are noticed by the coaches and the players.
"Just his push support play and kick pressure - those real effort areas and the sort of stuff that helps you win footy games - he was leading that even when he was coming off the bench.
"Then, after he started up front, he actually brought that physical presence and gave Daniel a real hand in that department as well in both attack and with his D [defence]."
O'Brien said a strong pre-season was a contributing factor to the way Saifiti played.
"He had a really good pre-season which set him up for what he produced week after week during the season proper," he said.
"And without him ever having to say too much, he's become a real leader among the group, largely because of his actions and the way he leads from the front. He is very much like his brother in that regard."
After missing just two games for the club all season [one when he was rested], Brailey's endorsement from the Old Boys as the gladiator award winner came as no surprise.
He finished the season as the leading defender in the NRL after making 1092 tackles at an average of a touch under 50 tackles per game.
"It's an award aptly named because you've got a bloke in Brails who just works his backside off for 80 minutes every week," O'Brien said.
"He ended up leading the NRL in that department and his attitude, his work ethic, his courage and his bravery - well, a gladiator is the perfect word to describe him I reckon.
"Any coach would love to have his attributes in all 13 of the players on the field."
Roosters-bound utility star Watson was recognised for his whole-hearted efforts during the season by his teammates with the players' player award while Jones was rewarded for his break-out season that saw him play 22 games in the top grade by winning the rookie award.
2021 AWARD WINNERS:
Danny Buderus Medal: Jacob Saifiti
Gladiator of the Year: Jayden Brailey
Players' player: Connor Watson
Rookie of the year: Brodie Jones
Community player of the year: Josh King
Knight in shining armour: Mitchell Pearce [field goal v Titans]
NSW Cup player of the year: Zac Hosking
NSW Cup players' player: Luke Huth and Mat Croker
Club person of the year: Matt Morriss and Jane Farrell
IN THE NEWS:
- Newcastle and Hunter adds 14 COVID cases, NSW adds 1127 and two deaths
- Candidates line up to replace Hunter Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon at federal election
- Former Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen opens up about 'titillating and exciting' encounters with sex worker
- Man charged after break-in, BMW theft, police pursuit through Lake Macquarie and Newcastle
- State Government urged to buy back land at Bylong as KEPCO loses coal mine appeal
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: