The 29-year-old former Rabbitohs forward polled absolute maximum votes in Ipswich’s final round match to finish on 30 points, finishing two clear of thrilling Sunshine Coast Falcons hooker Harry Grant.
Neale’s late season charge was mirrored by the form of his own team, which secured the sixth and final spot in the semi-finals on the back of the Round 24 victory over the Norths Devils last Saturday.
The final Civoniceva Medal points were revealed in front of more than 350 guests at Brisbane City Hall yesterday evening.
Neale was elated to be handed the award from league great Petero Civoniceva, who made an significant contribution to the game by returning to the Intrust Super Cup for two seasons after his NRL journey ended in 2013.
It was a night to remember for Neale, who was also awarded Prop of the Year following his outstanding efforts in the middle for the Jets this year.
Some of Queensland’s brightest young prospects, including David Fifita and Clifford, were among proceedings for the awards.
Fifita was the XXXX Representative Player of the Year and the Mal Meninga Cup Player of the Year, while Pride and Cowboys young gun Clifford was the Rookie of the Year.
Following her outstanding performance in the inaugural Holden Women’s State of Origin Match, Queensland’s Steph Hancock was announced as the Harvey Norman’s Women’s Representative Player of the Year.
A large part of the evening served to acknowledge the game’s volunteers as grassroots level.