The finalists for the annual New Zealand Rugby League Awards have been named, with a Kiwis rookie joining a pair of experienced campaigners in the final three for Kiwis Player of the Year. (Photo: NRLPhotos).
After making his Test debut at the Rugby League World Cup – a tournament where he stood out as one of New Zealand’s best – Nelson Asofa-Solomona joins former Kiwi captain Simon Mannering and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as a finalist for the award.
The 2017 Women’s World Cup Player of the Tournament, Teuila Fotu-Moala, is shortlisted for the women’s gong alongside rookie fullback Apii Nicholls-Pualau and last year’s Auckland Rugby League Player of the Year Krystal Rota.
Asofa-Solomona doubles up as a finalist for the Kiwis Rookie of the Year Award, joining Newcastle rake Danny Levi and forward Isaac Liu.
The winners will be announced at an Auckland function on February 10. The full list of NZRL Awards finalists is:
Female Volunteer – Naioma Chase (Dannevirke Rugby League/Manawatu), Sonyia Anania (Glenora Bears/Auckland), Fipe Fa’amoe Ione(He Tauua/Invercargill), Alana Lockhurst (Cooks Rugby League/Southland), Sandra Hickey (Physical Disability RL/Auckland), Jasmine Tuli (Linwood Keas/Christchurch), Victoria Malone (Marist Saints/Auckland), Karla Matua (Manurewa Marlins/Auckland), Chantez Connor (Otaika Eagles/Northland), Nicole Baker-Havea (Otahuhu Rugby League/Auckland)
Male Volunteer – Nathan Robinson (Country Cowboys/Canterbury), James Waetford (Ellerslie Eagles/Auckland), Will Harris (Wairau Taniwha/Blenheim), Willy Simon (Hornby Panthers/Christchurch), Lawrence Erihe (Linton Cobras/Manawatu), Jack Newson (Hornby Panthers/Christchurch), Riki Shelford (Portland Rugby League/Northland), Jim Doolan (Otara Scorpians/Auckland), Dennis Stewart (Trentham Titans/Wellington)
Grassroots Club – Northcote Tigers (Auckland), Taniwharau (Huntly), Dannevirke (Manawatu)
Domestic Coach – Rusty Matua (Auckland), Morgan Kutia (Waikato), Rod Ratu (Auckland)
Referee – Jason Wilson (Christchurch), Chris McMillan (Auckland)
Domestic Player 16s – Christian Tuipulotu (Auckland), Caius Fa’atili (Christchurch), Sione Moala (Auckland),
Domestic Player 18s – Steven Marsters (St George Illawara), Tyler Slade (NZ Warriors),
Seth Tauamiti (Canterbury Bulls), Jonathan Aumua Falelua-Malio (Auckland)
Domestic Player Premier – Aaron Jolley (Waikato/Hamilton City Tigers), Daniel Reuelu-Buchanan (Akarana Falcons/Glenora Bears), Phil Kingi (Akarana Falcons/Glenora Bears)
Junior Player – Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Isaiah Papali’I (Warriors)
Kiwis Rookie – Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters)
Women’s Player – Teuila Fotu-Moala (Otahuhu Leopards), Krystal Rota (Manurewa Marlins), Apii Nicholls-Pualau (Manurewa Marlins)
Kiwis Player – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (NZ Warriors), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm)