Rookie Kiwi international Solomone Kata is among three Vodafone Warriors players short-listed for honours at the 2016 New Zealand Rugby League Awards to be announced in Auckland on January 20.
The others in contention are 2016 NRL debutant Ata Hingano and first-year NYC player Chanel Harris-Tavita while Vodafone Warriors community ambassador Georgia Hale is a finalist for the women’s player of the year award.
Kata, who turned 22 on December 3, joins Canberra pair Jordan Rapana and Joseph Tapine as a finalist for the Kiwis’ rookie of the year award. With 45 appearances in his first two NRL seasons, he made his New Zealand Test debut against the Kangaroos in Perth in October.
Hingano (19) made his first two NRL appearances this year, captained the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos and was a regular for the Vodafone Warriors’ Intrust Super Premiership side. He’s a finalist for the NZRL junior player of the year award.
Harris-Tavita made his NYC debut on his 17th birthday, quickly establishing himself as a first-choice player and finishing the season with 18 appearances. He’s a finalist for the domestic 18s player of the year.
Fighting out the premier player of the year title are Kiwi captain Jesse Bromwich, his Melbourne team-mate Tohu Harris and North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo.
2016 NZRL AWARDS | FINALISTS
Pirtek Female Volunteer | Alana Lockhorst (The Cooks/Southland RL), Nickie Tane (Mercury Bay Boars/Hauraki District), Dania Wood (Northern Wairoa Bulls).
Pirtek Male Volunteer | Tony Cuccurullo (Tasman RL), Jason Parata (Pikiao RL), Shane Price (Mt Wellington RL).
Grassroots Club | He Tauaa (Southland RL), Richmond Rabbits (Nelson RL), Takahiwai (Northland RL).
Domestic Coach | Andrew Auimatagi (Linwood Keas/Canterbury Bulls), Richie Blackmore (Papakura Sea Eagles), Rod Ratu (Counties Manukau Stingrays/NZ Residents/Southern Cross Campus).
Referee | Anthony Elliot, Chris McMillan, Shane Rehm.
Domestic Player (16s) | Taylor Fiu (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Jordan Riki (South Island Scorpions), Regan McClennan (Akarana Falcons).
Domestic Player (18s) | Jesse Arthurs (Melbourne Storm), Chanel Harris-Tavita (Vodafone Warriors), Zae Wallace (Akarana Falcons).
Domestic Player (Premier) | Tevin Arona (Canterbury Bulls), Daniel Palavi (Akarana Falcons), Nick Read (Waikato).
Junior Player | James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers), Ata Hingano (Vodafone Warriors), Brandon Smith (North Queensland Cowboys).
Kiwi Rookie | Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders), Solomone Kata (Vodafone Warriors).
Women’s Player | Sarina Fiso (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Georgia Hale (Akarana Falcons), Krystal Rota (Counties Manukau Stingrays).
Kiwi Player | Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys).