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Loose forward David Bhana is the only Vodafone Junior Warriors player included in the 2013 NYC Team of the Year. Photo: Photosport

Bhana (20), who started the season leading the side in the sixth NYC campaign, has been used by the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup in recent weeks.

He has excelled as one of the NYCs top back rowers in his two seasons in the competition. An exceptional defender, he topped the NYCs tackling statistics last year with 957 tackles in 24 appearances. In just 14 games this season he has made 590 tackles and tops the statistics for the most average tackles per game with 42.1

Bhana has been included on the bench in the 2013 Team of the Year as he looks ahead to the step up to the NRL squad in 2014, having been signed on a one-year fulltime NRL contract.

Named the Vodafone Warriors 2012 TNT Young NYC Player of the Year, Bhana was also a finalist for both the overall Vodafone NYC Player of the Year and the DEWALT NYC Clubman of the Year.

Away from football, the Northcote Tigers junior and former Birkenhead College head boy is in his final year of a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Auckland. He is keen to work as a conservationist in the future.

Bhana joins the likes of Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers), Corey Oates (Broncos), Charly Runciman (Dragons), Hymel Hunt (Titans) and Samisoni Langi (Roosters) in the 2013 NYC Team of the Year.

This years chosen players join an honour roll that includes some of the NRLs most exciting and talented stars, including Daly-Cherry Evans, Ben Barba, Kieran Foran, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Ben Matulino, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jesse Bromwich, Shaun Fensom, Tariq Sims, Gareth Widdop, Alex McKinnon, Trent Merrin, Dale Finucane and James Segeyaro.

You just have to look through the weekly NRL line-ups to realise how important the Holden Cup has been as a development pathway, NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said today.

Ben Barba was a member of the inaugural team of the year in 2008 and has gone on to win the Dally M Medal, we have seen a number of graduates now play Holden State of Origin and represent their countries and many more become leading players within their NRL clubs.

Just as importantly, the competition has set new standards in achievement off the field.

The Holden Cups No Work, No Study, No Play policy philosophy is unique in Australian professional sport and represents the importance the game places on helping players achieve a balanced life that prepares them for life after they finish playing in the NRL.

The 2013 Holden Cup Team of the Year features players from 12 clubs and includes the nephew of Titans coach John Cartwright Panthers back-rower Bryce Cartwright while the Sharks Michael Lichaa and Raiders Mitchell Cornish join a select band of players to be named in the Team of Year twice.

The full team is:

Fullback: Jack Ahearn (Canberra Raiders) apprentice electrician

Wing: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers) Year 12 Patrician Brothers Blacktown

Centre: Hymel Hunt (Gold Coast Titans) Bachelor of Business at Griffith University

Centre: Charly Runciman (St George Illawarra Dragons) Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) at University of Wollongong

Wing: Jonathon Reuben (Canberra Raiders) indigenous trainee with Department of Education and Training

Five-eighth: Samisoni Langi (Sydney Roosters) Bachelor Exercise and Health Science at ACU

Halfback: Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers) Trainee Community and Development Officer

Prop: Matthew Lodge (Melbourne Storm) Diploma of Management

Hooker: Michael Lichaa (Cronulla Sharks) apprentice carpenter

Prop: Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles) Bachelor of Management and Sport and Exercise at UTS

Second Row: Bryce Cartwright (Penrith Panthers) Certificate III and IV in Fitness at ACPE Academy

Second Row: Corey Oates (Brisbane Broncos) Certificate IV in Business

Lock: John Asiata (Sydney Roosters) Certificate IV in Community Services

Interchange: Mitchell Cornish (Canberra Raiders) Diploma of Business Management

Interchange: Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Penrith Panthers) teachers aide at Willmot Public School

Interchange: David Bhana (Vodafone Warriors) Bachelor of Science at Auckland University

Interchange: Cameron McInnes (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Bachelor of Physiotherapy at ACU

Coach: Mick Mantelli (Canberra Raiders) owner, building companyAAAA
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