Kiwi fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was one of four Vodafone Warriors players honoured at the New Zealand Rugby League Annual Awards on Saturday night.
Tuivasa-Sheck, Kiwi #779, was named the Kiwi Player of the Year after being chosen as the 2017 Vodafone NRL Player of the Year at the annual Vodafone Warriors awards last year.
His success followed earlier accolades for fellow clubmates Isaiah Papali’i, Tyler Slade and Christian Tuipulotu.
Second rower Papali’i, who made his NRL debut last season, was named the NZRL Junior Player or the Year; he also represented the Junior Kiwis for the second straight season, was a regular for the Vodafone Warriors in the club’s Intrust Super Premiership side, appeared for the NYC team and was in the squad for the NRL Nines.
Back rower Slade was recognised as the NZRL Domestic 18s Player of the Year following a season in which he impressed for the New Zealand 18s against the Australian Schoolboys as well as excelling for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the NYC (he was named the club’s Vodafone NYC Rookie of the Year).
St Paul’s College student Tuipulotu, another second rower, won the NZRL Domestic 16s Player of the Year. He’s in the Vodafone Warriors’ development squad.
Tuivasa-Sheck finished the 2017 Rugby League World Cup with the equal most tries for the Kiwis (3), the most carries (72) and the most metres gained (626).
Kiwi coach David Kidwell says such achievements were no small feat considering Tuivasa-Sheck came back from a serious knee injury.
“In some cases, it takes a fair amount of time for a player to get back to form following such a serious injury, but Roger did everything right and ultimately showed great leadership at the back,” he said.
“He’s a quality young man who was a pleasure to coach and I congratulate him for his impressive performances throughout the NRL season and at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.”
The NZRL Women’s Player of the Year award was picked up by Tuivasa-Sheck’s fullback counterpart Apii Nicholls-Pualau.
NZRL AWARDS | WINNERS
Pirtek Female Volunteer | Chantez Connor (Otaika Eagles, Northland)
Pirtek Male Volunteer | Jack Newson (Hornby Panthers, Southern)
Grassroots Club | Taniwharau (Upper Central)
Domestic Coach | Morgan Kutia (Waikato)
Referee | Chris McMillan (Auckland)
Domestic Player 16s | Christian Tuipulotu (Akarana, Vodafone Warriors)
Domestic Player 18s | Tyler Slade (Vodafone Warriors)
Domestic Player Premier | Aaron Jolley (Waikato, Hamilton City Tigers)
Junior Player | Isaiah Papali’i (Vodafone Warriors)
Kiwis Rookie | Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm)
Women’s Player | Apii Nicholls-Pualau (Manurewa Marlins, Counties Manukau)
Kiwi Player | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Vodafone Warriors)