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Rookie Kiwis Ken Maumalo and Isaiah Papali’i plus Kiwi Ferns prop Aieshaleigh Smalley are among a number of Vodafone Warriors players named as New Zealand Rugby League Awards finalists today.

Maumalo joins Kiwi team-mates Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters) and Dally M rookie of the year Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos) as a finalist for the Kiwis’ rookie of the year award.

Making his Kiwi Test debut against England in Denver in June, Maumalo went on to feature in each of New Zealand’s five internationals this year.

He scored a try in the 26-24 win over Australia in Auckland on October 13, another in the second Test against England at Anfield on November 4 and a double in the 34-0 third Test victory against England at Elland Road on November 11.

Papali’i, the Vodafone Warriors’ 2018 NRL rookie of the year, won the 2017 NZRL junior player of the year award and is again a finalist for the category following a season in which he made his New Zealand Test debut at Elland Road and also captained the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos last month.  

Smalley, a foundation member of the Warriors’ NRL women’s premiership team, is a finalist for the Kiwi Ferns’ player of the year accolade.

Kiwi captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers) is up against NRL premiership-winning forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters) and second rower Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans) for the 2018 Kiwis’ player of the year award.

Other Vodafone Warriors players named as finalists include Joseph Vuna, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Masuisuimatamaalii Tauasa-Pauaraisa, Kayal Iro and Tyler Slade.

The Pirtek volunteer of the year awards shine light on the incredible efforts of grassroots volunteers from around the country. These finalists have contributed to their clubs and communities in ways that are invaluable to the game of rugby league in New Zealand.


Kiwis Player of the Year | Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers), Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters)

Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year | Honey Hireme (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kimiora Nati (Brisbane Broncos), Aieshaleigh Smalley (Warriors)

Kiwis Rookie of the Year | Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Ken Maumalo (Vodafone Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)

Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year | Onjeurlina Leiataua (Warriors), Masuisuimatamaalii Tauasa-Pauaraisa (Warriors)

Junior Player of the Year | Mawene Hiroti (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Joseph Vuna (Vodafone Warriors), Isaiah Papali’i (Vodafone Warriors)

Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year | Debbie Neylon-Kennedy (Southern, Canterbury), Michelle Harding (Southern, Canterbury), Hana Kakoi (Southern, Canterbury), Denise Proctor (Northland, Nga Tama Toa), Junie Shelford (Northland, Takahiwai), Sariah Matautia (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Agnes Koti (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Karen Gibbons (Akarana, Auckland), Rose Nahu (Upper Central, Bay of Plenty), Ally Tamihere (Mid Central, Gisborne Tairawhiti)

Pirtek Male Volunteer of the Year | David Field (Southern, Canterbury), Tony Grenfell (Southern, Canterbury), Chris Perriam (Southern, Southland), Peter Kerridge (Southern, West Coast), Josh Cleaver (Mid Central, Taranaki), Lawrence Erihe (Mid Central, Manawatu), Frank Proctor (Northland, Nga Tama Toa), Nick Waihi (Northland, Marist Brothers), Tim Tapaki (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Carl Gribble (Akarana, Auckland)

Grassroots Club of the Year | Wairau Taniwha (Southern, Tasman), Lonestar Cowboys (Southern, Southland), South Pacific Raiders (Southern, Otago), Rolleston Warriors (Southern, Canterbury), Takahiwai Warriors (Northland), Otahuhu Rugby League Club (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Manurewa Rugby League Football & Sports Club Inc (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

Domestic Coach of the Year | Rusty Matua (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Tusa Lafaele (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Keith Hanley (Akarana, Auckland)

Match Official of the Year | Gary Smallridge (Southern, Canterbury), Owen Harvey (Southern, Canterbury), Chris MacMillan (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Paki Parkinson (Upper Central, Bay of Plenty)

NZ 16s Player of the Year | Sione Moala (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Quinnlan Tupou (Counties Manukau, Auckland), Lani Graham-Taufa (Akarana, Auckland)

NZ 18s Player of the Year | Kayal Iro (Vodafone Warriors), Tyler Slade (Vodafone Warriors), Mahuta Ngataki-Matthews (Upper Central, Waikato)

NZRL Premier Player of the Year | Drew Radich (Counties Manukau, Auckland), James Baxendale (Southern, Canterbury), Francis Leger (Akarana, Auckland)

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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