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The best bits of 2017

The best bits of 2017
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With 2017 all but done, we’re taking a look back at some of the best parts of the year that was. Here’s kiwileaguecentral.com’s best of the best. (Photo: NRLPhotos).

Best new thing

The Toronto Wolfpack. Who would have thought rugby league would ever exist, let alone prosper, in Toronto? It was great to see Kiwi/Canadian Quinn Ngawati get a shot with the club too.

Best old thing

Benji Marshall – he’s still got it. There were some injuries, there was some inconsistency across the season, but it was special seeing Benji back skipping, dummying and making rugby league look fun.

Best hit

Any of these would be suitable for this section, but we are going with the middle one. Teuila goes pop!

Best game-winning moment

Hibiscus Coast’s victory over Marist in the semi-finals of the Auckland Rugby League Nines. It was messy, it may have absolutely involved an offside player, but this was get-out-of-your-seat-and-hold-your-damn-breath-while-you-cross-your-legs-rugby-league.

Best emerging talent

Corey Harawira-Naera. Few had reason to know about this kid from Opononi, Northland prior to his NRL debut. But he took his chance with both hands to play 22 games, making 12 line breaks and becoming a lethal force on the edge for the Penrith Panthers.

Best effort to stop a ball going dead which turned into a try

Jordan Rapana doesn’t know how to give up in these situations.

Best game

With nine minutes to go in the Rugby League World Cup semi-final against England, Tonga were gone. How gone? 20-0 down, hadn’t really looked like scoring outside of a couple of fortuitous breaks and looked worn down by a relentless opponent. Three tries and 18 points later, Tonga were no longer gone. One last set finished with Andrew Fifita going over the line and 30,003 mostly Tongan fans lost it. It was called back for a knock on. The call was correct. The Tongan dream was finished. But it’s a game people will tell their great grandkids kids about.