Talimalie picks up top award
Mangere East halfback Raymond Talimalie, a member of the Vodafone Warriors' New South Wales Cup squad, was named Auckland Rugby League Player of the Year at the annual premier awards on Wednesday night.
In a season where Talimalie was a standout for his Hawks side in the Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Premiership, he also made his debut for the Auckland representative side and stepped up to play in the NSW Cup with the Vodafone Warriors.
The 21-year-old beat out challenges from Pt Chevalier forward Pakisonasi Afu and Otara captain Uila Aiolupo for the gong, which is decided by a combination of club-nominated Player of the Day votes and three, two, one best and fairest points from referees.
A member of the 2013 Melbourne Storm under-20 side, Talimalie said he was aiming to re-launch his career after returning to Auckland for family reasons at the start of last season.
"I am stoked and just so proud, but if it wasn’t for family and everyone around me this year I wouldn’t be here," Talimalie said from the function at Alexandra Park in Auckland.
"I have just had more confidence in myself this season and have been playing what is in front of me and doing the best I can.
"Hopefully something does pop up soon in terms of a contract at a higher level. Right now it's just about working hard, getting to my peak and going from there."
In other major awards given out on the night Richmond playmaker/dummy-half Georgia Hale capped off a breakout year, in which she debuted for the Kiwi Ferns at the NRL Auckland Nines, by winning the Women's Player of the Year award.
A constant force for the Roses this season, Hale has helped the side through the regular season to challenge traditional heavyweights Papakura and Manurewa for the women's title in 2015.
"I didn't expect this at all but it has been a very rewarding year and I think all of the hard work has paid off," Hale said.
"There is a World Cup coming up in a few years and I would love to be part of that. I guess for me it's just about staying involved in the game for as long as possible really."
In the second division Ponsonby utility Alifaio Lata was named SAS Sharman Cup Player of the Year, while Papakura winger Alan Niulevu picked up the Kahawai Productions Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Rookie of the Year.
The 21-year-old Fijian scored 14 tries through the regular season, after converting from rugby union in 2014.
Mt Albert coach Steve Buckingham was named Crown Lift Trucks Coach of the Year, after guiding the Lions through to next Saturday's grand final, while also picking up the Giltrap Nissan Rukutai Shield (minor premiership) and Konica Minolta Roope Rooster (challenge trophy).
See below for a full list of award winners.
Club Volunteer of the Year: Darrell Woodhouse (Manurewa)
Club Administrator of the Year: Stephen Jelicich (ARL Referees' Association)
Konica Minolta Club of the Year: New Lynn
SAS Sharman Cup Club Nominated Players of the Year:
Sifa Hukehuke (Bay Roskill)
John Faaee (East Coast Bays)
Junior Taurarii (Ellerslie)
Calib Leifi (Glenfield)
Buck Hall (Hibiscus Coast)
Okomaka Talagi (Manukau)
Brendon Bell (Manurewa)
Taylor Smith (Mt Wellington)
Saunoa Utumapu (New Lynn)
Rigo John-Varu (Pakuranga)
Villa Seumanu (Papatoetoe)
Alifaio Lata (Ponsonby)
Josh Mana (Richmond)
Peter Mills (Te Atatu)
Dominique Folomu (Waitemata)
SAS Sharman Cup Player of the Year: Alifaio Lata (Ponsonby)
Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Club Nominated Players of the Year:
Aaron Booth (Glenora)
Tony Tuia (Howick)
Raymond Talimalie (Mangere East)
Misi Ma'u (Marist)
Semisi Fotu (Mt Albert)
Levi Norton (Northcote)
James Blackwell (Otahuhu)
Uila Aiolupo (Otara)
Roman Hifo (Papakura)
Pakisonasi Afu (Pt Chevalier)
Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Player of the Year: Raymond Talimalie (Mangere East)
Phelan Shield (SAS Sharman Cup minor premiers): Te Atatu
Giltrap Nissan Rukutai Shield (Appliance Shed Fox Memorial minor premiers): Mt Albert
Konica Minolta Roope Rooster (challenge cup that goes on the line at each of the holder's home games): Mt Albert
Orix Finance Kiwi Shield (based on points percentages from both the Appliance Shed Fox Memorial premier and premier first competitions - judging best club): Mt Albert
ARL Women's Player of the Year: Georgia Hale (Richmond)
Lance Painter Rose Bowl (top goal kicker in the Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Premiership): Jonathan Carl (Pt Chevalier)
Masters Rugby League Cup (top try-scorer in the Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Premiership): Dillon Rota (Mt Albert)
Kahawai Productions Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Rookie of the Year: Alan Niulevu (Papakura)
Crown Lift Trucks Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Coach of the Year: Steve Buckingham (Mt Albert)
George Rainey Medal Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Team of the Year:
Fullback | James Blackwell (Otahuhu)
Wing | Reece Charlie (Otara)
Centre | Semisi Fotu (Mt Albert)
Standoff | Aaron Booth (Glenora)
Halfback | Raymond Talimalie (Mangere East)
Prop | Tony Tuia (Howick)
Hooker | Misi Ma'u (Marist)
Second row | Pakisonasi Afu (Pt Chevalier)
Loose forward | Roman Hifo (Papakura)