(Main photo: Joseph Manu fights for a ball on first-grade debut v the Warriors. Credit: photosport.nz).
New Zealand products Kalyn Ponga, Brandon Smith and Joseph Manu are among the players honoured in the 2016 Holden Cup Team of the Year.
The team was announced at Monday’s 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series Launch at Allianz Stadium.
NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said 90 percent of players who made the Holden Cup Team of the Year went on to play in the NRL.
“It’s become clear that the Holden Cup Team of the Year is a virtual preview of the next batch of NRL talent,” Mr Canavan said.
“In fact a number of this year’s team have already made their mark in the NRL.
“But just as important as their NRL statistics, I am also pleased to see the education and training that these players are undertaking.
“Last year’s Team of the Year included Tom Trjbojevic, Ashley Taylor, Te Maire Martin and Latrell Mitchell.
“I’m looking forward to see what this next group of players do in the NRL.”
This year’s team joins an honour roll that includes some of the NRL’s most talented stars, including Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Valentine Holmes, Daly-Cherry Evans, Ben Barba, Kieran Foran, Marika Koroibete, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Ben Matulino, Dane Gagai, Jesse Bromwich, Jason Taumololo, Shaun Fensom, Tariq Sims, Gareth Widdop, Ben Hunt, Trent Merrin, David Klemmer, Dylan Napa, James Segeyaro, Konrad Hurrell, Luke Brooks and Bryce Cartwright.
The 2016 Holden Cup Team of the Year is:
|Fullback||Kalyn Ponga||Cowboys||Bachelor of Education, JCU|
|Wing||Gideon Gela-Mosby||Cowboys||Cert IV in Youth Work + Work|
|Centre||Robert Jennings||Panthers||Cert III: Career Orientated Participation|
|Centre||Nick Cotric||Raiders||HSC Erindale College|
|Wing||Joseph Manu||Roosters||Cert III: Career Orientated Participation|
|Five-eighth||Tyrone May||Panthers||Diploma: Social Science, Counselling + Teacher’s Aide|
|Halfback||Troy Dargan||Eels||Bachelor Business & Property Management, WSU|
|Prop||Alex Twal||Eels||Bachelor Of Business & Commerce|
|Hooker||Brandon Smith||Cowboys||Building/Construction Labourer|
|Prop||Oliver Clark||Panthers||Bachelor of Physiotherapy, ACU|
|Second-Row||Luciano Leilua||Dragons||Construction/Scaffolding Labourer|
|Second-Row||Jaydn Su’A||Broncos||Bachelor of Secondary Education, QUT|
|Lock||Nat Butcher||Roosters||Diploma of Financial Planning|
|Interchange||Jayden Brailey||Sharks||Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science, ACU|
|Interchange||Matthew Dufty||Dragons||Cert III Community Recreation|
|Interchange||Tyrell Fuimaono||Eels||Bachelor Business & Commerce, WSU|
|Interchange||Dylan Edwards||Panthers||Bachelor of Health and Science|