Liam Gill is just about the unluckiest player in Australian rugby, but something has finally fallen the Queensland flanker’s way.
Gill was awarded the Stan Pilecki Medal for players’ player of the year on Friday night, recognition for a stellar season that, by rights, should have played him right into Test contention.
But, in shades of retired Australian legspinner Stuart Macgill’s misfortune of a career span mirroring Shane Warne, Gill is playing rugby at the same time as Michael Hooper and David Pocock, who have a mortgage on the front two spots in the queue for the Australian No.7 jersey.
The 23-year-old played in all but one of Queensland’s Super Rugby games this year – missing on that occasion due to suspension – and was far and away the brightest spark in an dull year for the Reds.
Statistically, he was one of the most-impressive flankers in Super Rugby, with the most turnovers forced (30), and most ruck involvements (563). Gill dominated the votes, with 420 in total, far outstripping Greg Holmes (184) and James Hanson (179).
“We’re not surprised by the result. Liam had an outstanding season and it was without doubt his most consistent,” said Reds coach Richard Graham.
“The fantastic thing for the Reds is that he still has a huge amount of improvement left in him.”