Kiwis skipper Jesse Bromwich faces challenges from Melbourne Storm club-mate Tohu Harris and Dally M Medal winner Jason Taumalolo for the 2016 NZRL Kiwis Player of the Year.
Finalists have been selected in all 12 NZRL Awards categories, with winners to be announced at an Auckland function on January 20.
Bromwich (Kiwi # 775) took out the prestige award last year and has since risen to the post of national team captain, leading the Kiwis in six tests over the past 12 months. He was also named Melbourne Storm Player of the Year and Dally M Prop of the Year in the NRL competition.
Harris (Kiwi #778) continued to make himself an indispensable component of the Kiwis side, turning out in three different positions – centre, five-eighth and second row – and extending his career to 16 tests.
Taumalolo (Kiwi #786) really came of age in the NRL during 2016, sharing Dally M Medal honours with Storm playmaker Cooper Cronk, while taking out the lock award.
Canberra wing Jordan Rapana, club-mate Joseph Tapine and NZ Warriors centre Solomone Kata face off for the Kiwis Rookie of the Year award, while another Kiwis newcomer, James Fisher-Harris, is in the mix for Junior Player of the Year.
Kiwi Ferns captain and twice previous winner Sarina Fiso will again contest Women’s Player of the Year, after leading the national team to victory over Australia at both the NRL Nines and mid-year test in Newcastle.
She faces competition from Georgia Hale, named MVP at both international events, and Krystal Rota, who was MVP of the NZ Maori Tournament and scored the winning try in the NZRL national women’s national final.
The full list of NZRL Awards finalists is:
Pirtek Female Volunteer – Alana Lockhorst (The Cooks/Southland RL), Nickie Tane (Mercury Bay Boars/Hauraki District), Dania Wood (Northern Wairoa Bulls)
Pirtek Male Volunteer – Tony Cuccurullo (Tasman RL), Jason Parata (Pikiao RL), Shane Price (Mt Wellington RL)
Grassroots Club – He Tauaa (Southland RL), Richmond Rabbits (Nelson RL), Takahiwai (Northland RL)
Domestic Coach – Andrew Auimatagi (Linwood Keas/Canterbury Bulls/NZ Residents), Richie Blackmore (Papakura Sea Eagles), Rod Ratu (Counties Manukau Stingrays/NZ Residents/Southern Cross Campus)
Referee – Anthony Elliot, Chris McMillan, Shane Rehm
Domestic Player 16s – Taylor Fiu (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Jordan Riki (South Island Scorpions), Regan McClennan (Akarana Falcons)
Domestic Player 18s – Jesse Arthurs (Melbourne Storm), Chanel Harris-Tavita (NZ Warriors), Zae Wallace (Akarana Falcons/NZ Schools)
Junior Player – James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers), Ata Hingano (NZ Warriors), Brandon Smith (North Queensland Cowboys)
Kiwis Rookie – Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Solomone Kata (NZ Warriors)
Women’s Player – Sarina Fiso (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Georgia Hale (Akarana Falcons), Krystal Rota (Counties Manukau Stingrays)
Kiwis Player – Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)
(Main photo: Jason Taumalolo. Credit: photosport.nz).