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Dyldam Parramatta Eels halfback Chris Sandow has labelled his Blue and Gold teammates "family" as he was awarded the Ken Thornett Medal on Tuesday night at the club's annual presentation evening.

The Medal, named for the iconic “mayor of Parramatta”, Ken Thornett, recognises the NRL Players’ Player, determined by team votes following each round of the season; this year, Sandow's work in the number seven jersey saw him step up on stage to accept it.

“It’s so good that my teammates think of me like that,” Sandow said.

“I love going out there and playing good footy each week and that’s what I thrive on, but to get this medal tonight, I’m very honoured.”

“It’s so good to go out there and play with the boys every week, we see each other almost every day and they’re my family.”

Sandow also had his family on hand at Le Montage in Lilyfield, with mum Rhonda as his date for the evening, and the halfback admits she might be a lucky charm.

“Every time I take her to an awards night I get an award!” Sandow said.

“To have a mum like Rhonda, I’m really privileged.”

After finishing the regular season outside the top eight in tenth position, Sandow and his teammates were in for an early start the following morning as they prepared for a 7.30am training session in Parramatta.

“We’re still training here at the Eels, so I think it’s going to be an even better and bigger year next year,” Sandow said.

Earlier in the evening, fullback Jarryd Hayne took home three awards, including the NRL Coaches' Award, while retiring Blue and Gold legend Ben Smith took home the NRL Community Award. Click through for a full list of 2014 winners!

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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