Catchpole Medal Leaderboard: Who is leading the Shute Shield MVP race at halfway point

Tue, Jun 4, 2024, 4:00 AM
NSW Rugby
by NSW Rugby

The Ken Catchpole Medal is awarded to the Shute Shield's best player each season, as voted by opposition coaches each week on a 3-2-1 basis throughout the 18-round regular season.

Last year, Eastwood's Michael Icely won the award and was picked up by the Aussie 7s side soon after. Icely is currently in Madrid competing in the grand final weekend of the World Sevens series and is in the mix to represent Australia at the Olympics in Paris later this year. 

After nine rounds, here are the leading contenders for the 2024 Ken Catchpole Medal (alphabetical order):

Gary Bautz - Norths

Hardworking Norths backrower Gary Bautz was outstanding in the opening rounds of this season. Bautz is ranked second for tackles made and breakdown steals but played from the bench in second grade against Warringah in round eight and Manly in round nine, which may impact his polling.

Andrew Deegan - Randwick

Mr. Consistent. Andrew Deegan rarely has a bad game and has added some crucial experience to a fairly young Randwick backline through the first half of this season. Deegan has made more line-break assists per game than any other player in the competition.

Hunter Hannaford - West Harbour

After a breakout season in 2023, Hunter Hannaford started the first three games of this season in second grade but has made a serious impact in recent weeks and played a crucial role in the Pirates win over Eastwood a few weeks back.

Ben Marr - Warringah

Back to his brilliant best, Ben Marr has scored six tries so far this season and recorded the second-most running metres of any player in the competition. He's played from the bench in the Rats recent matches and missed Saturday’s win over Gordon after injuring himself in a warm-up a few weeks back. 

Matt Minogue - Eastwood

Arguably the most improved player this year, Minogue has been brilliant in a young Woodies side after earning the No.10 jersey through preseason. Minogue was sixth on the top point scorer list and surprisingly, equal third for breakdown steals, but missed the Woodies round nine win over Southern Districts. 

Jack Parsons - Eastwood

Another big improver in a new-look Woodies outfit this year, Illawarra junior Jack Parsons has been a consistent force in the Eastwood forward pack in the opening rounds of the season. Parsons has a big engine, makes plenty of tackles and is efficient at lineout time. He’s ranked behind Donny Freeman and teammate Ben Dalton for most tackles made this season. 

Phil Potgieter - Southern Districts

Souths skipper Phil Potgieter has played every minute of the Rebels 2024 season so far and hasn't stopped working hard for a second. A no-nonsense forward, Potgieter carries and tackles well and is another strong lineout performer.

Reece Suesue - Western Sydney

Another player coming off a breakout season in 2023, Two Blues skipper and flyhalf Reece Suesue is another that has an impact on every match he plays. Suesue is third on the top pointscorers list and behind only Andrew Deegan as the most consistent regular goal kicker in the competition.

Wes Thomas - Warringah

Rats hooker Wes Thomas is in career-best form for Warringah this season and has scored six tries in the opening eight matches, many coming from the back of the impressive Warringah maul. Thomas also offloads well and knows how to break tackles.

Ed Timpson - Northern Suburbs

Possibly the signing of the season so far, Norths recruit Ed Timpson is a hard-running, hard-tackling English backrower who has scored five tries in his opening few months in the Shute Shield and established his spot in a very handy Norths' forward pack.

Andrew Tuala - Hunter

Like a fine wine, Andrew Tuala just keeps getting better with age. The 33-year-old former Waratahs forward has been a standout for the Wildfires in his side’s fairly underwhelming start to the season but scored a hat trick in the Wildfire's big win over West Harbour in round nine.