September 15, 2021
Fiji Bati prop Jacob Saifiti has begged the 2021 Danny Buderus Medal as the nib Newcastle Knights Player of the Year.
This is Saifiti’s first winning award in his career, with the medal being officially placed around his neck at a special ceremony on the Sunshine Coast last night.
The award comes as recognition for a standout and consistent season for the front rower, who forced his way into Adam O'Brien's starting side after initially starting on the bench.
General Manager of Football, Danny Buderus told NRL.com that Saifiti's award was a terrific milestone in the young forward's career.
"I’m so pleased for Jacob and it's great to see a hardworking middle win such a prestigious honour," Buderus told NRL.com.
"This is just reward for his hard work and determination. His go forward and team-first mentality has seen him become one of the most respected players in our Club. “
"Having watched him develop from a young man who debuted for the Club in a really tough time, to now progress into an elite middle forward, is just such a great story."
Buderus emphasised Saifiti's high-effort and hard-working mentality was what earned him enough votes to secure the honour.
"Jacob’s commitment to being part of a successful group is driving him to achieve new heights and setting standards for others to follow," he said.
"This determination, with strong carries and team-first actions, has produced consistent form which saw him force his way into the starting team alongside Daniel. This combination has been a cornerstone to establishing a strong platform for the Knights forward pack this season.”
"Be the Player is the motto within our group and Jacob’s performances this year have typified that mantra.”
"Daniel is now firmly established as rep player and Jake is on the same trajectory and is ready for when the opportunity presents.”
"This continued great form was rewarded with long-term contract extensions, ensuring the Saifiti Twins will be major part of the team's fabric for many more years to come."
Across the regular season, Saifiti played all but two games, with the front rower running for an average 107 run metres, a 93.8% tackle efficiency, three tries and 29 tackle breaks.
His effort was unquestionable in all of his 22 games, with the Emerging Blue a clear standout amongst his team mates.
By Romeka Romena