Front rower Preston Riki was named the Vodafone Player of the Year and winner of the Sonny Fai Medal at the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 2018 awards dinner at Mount Smart Stadium.

The 20-year-old Rawene-born Riki impressed throughout a challenging year for the club’s Jersey Flegg Cup side, combining 17 appearances for the under-20 team with four games playing up in the Intrust Super Premiership team.

In Jersey Flegg, he averaged 50 minutes a game, 73 metres gained and 23 tackles.

The other finalists for the Sonny Fai Medal were utility Tom Ale, fullback Kayal Iro and front rower Wesley Veikoso.

Iro, who made his under-20 debut late in the 2017 campaign, won the TNT Rookie of the Year honour after a season in which he made 20 appearances, scored six tries and averaged 133 metres a game.

The other contenders were Junior Pua, Tyler Slade and Paul Turner.

Finalists for the Canterbury of New Zealand Jersey Flegg Clubman of the Year were Eiden Ackland, Taane Paki, Sheldon Rogers and Slade. The award went to Ackland who ended his under-20 career with a total of 43 appearances for the club.

A group of players with impressive credentials were in contention for the Jersey Flegg Education Ambassador Award – Iro (certificate in civil engineering and apprenticeship), Casey Smith (bachelor of civil engineering), Slade (bachelor of sport and business), Ackland (bachelor of law), Ale (bachelor of commerce) and Riki (bachelor of commerce). Slade was the winner.

Five academy players were acknowledged for representing the club’s values – Isaiah Vagana (grounded), Stanley Iongi (courageous), Ali Leiataua (selfless), Quinnlan Tupou (passionate) and Vailingi and Otukinekina Kepu (uncompromising). Tupou was also recognised for the passionate category last year.

Nine Vodafone Warriors players eligible for the Jersey Flegg Cup this year have been named in the Junior Kiwis’ wider squad for next month’s international against the Junior Kangaroos.

The list is headlined by first-choice Vodafone Warriors NRL forward Isaiah Papali’i along with Joseph Vuna, who made his NRL debut this year. Riki was also named as well as Jersey Flegg team-mates Ale, Slade and Turner plus ISP regulars Chanel Harris-Tavita, Hayze Perham and Lewis Soosemea.  

 

VODAFONE JUNIOR WARRIORS | ROLL OF HONOUR

Vodafone Jersey Flegg Player of the Year & Sonny Fai Medal winner

2008 Kevin Locke
2009 Elijah Taylor
2010 Nafe Seluini
2011 John Palavi
2012 Peta Hiku
2013 Michael Sio
2014 Sam Lisone
2015 Bunty Afoa
2016 Chris Sio
2017 Chanel Harris-Tavita
2018 Preston Riki

TNT Jersey Flegg Rookie of the Year

2008 Elijah Taylor
2009 Ben Henry
2010 Carlos Tuimavave
2011 Siliva Havili
2012 David Bhana
2013 Tuimoala Lolohea
2014 Brad Abbey
2015 Ata Hingano
2016 Chanel Harris-Tavita
2017 Tyler Slade
2018 Kayal Iro

Jersey Flegg Clubman of the Year

2008 Kurt Tehira
2009 Kurt Kara
2010 Charlie Gubb
2011 Donald Tony
2012 Toka Likiliki
2013 Viliami Kaveinga
2014 Kurt Robinson
2015 Toafofoa Sipley
2016 Sheldon Pitama
2017 Kenese Kenese
2018 Eiden Ackland