Captain Addin Fonua-Blake, back rower Tohu Harris, winger Marcelo Montoya and rookie fullback Reece Walsh have been revealed as the Vodafone Warriors’ nominees for The Players’ Champion awards.
The Rugby League Players’ Association winner will be announced on grand final day.
Despite both being sidelined for a number of games, Fonua-Blake and Harris are logical contenders.
A season-ending injury against Penrith in round 18 limited the ultra-consistent Harris - the club's 2020 player of the year - to just 15 appearances this year; he averaged 103 metres and 41 tackles a game.
A serious early-season knee injury has limited new signing Fonua-Blake to only 14 games but he has still averaged 161 metres and 26 tackles a game as well as making 31 tackle breaks and producing 20 off loads.
Another player in his first season with the Vodafone Warriors, Montoya has also been among the club’s most consistent performers. In 17 outings he has averaged a career-best 125 metres a game for a season, scored five tries and made seven line breaks and 40 tackle breaks.
Since making an impressive debut in round seven, Walsh has played 15 times for the club. In an outstanding rookie season he has scored nine tries and kicked 21 goals for a total of 78 points while he has averaged 124 metres, made 53 tackle breaks and 14 line breaks as well as boasting 11 try assists.
Among the contenders from the other clubs are former Vodafone Warriors Kieran Foran (Manly) and Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta) as well as former or current Kiwis Jordan Rapana (Canberra), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne), Brandon Smith (Melbourne), James Fisher-Harris (Penrith), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters) and Joseph Manu (Roosters).
Reflecting on the sacrifice players have made this season, which included the unprecedented relocation of 13 teams to South-East Queensland, RLPA CEO Clint Newton said it had been a dynamic and challenging period.
"The sacrifices of players and many others connected to the game have been necessary given their impact on fans, clubs, and each other, but they are not forgotten,” he said.
"We have witnessed players continually do their best even though the demands have repeatedly increased with players continuing to support each other throughout the season."
The Players’ Champion awards will again recognise the NRL’s best players as voted by those who take the field each week. Alongside The Players’ Champion award will be The Players’ Rookie of the Year, The Players’ Dream Team and The Dennis Tutty Award.
A six-week multichannel campaign will be produced and distributed in partnership with the Nine Network for the second year, culminating on the biggest day of the season as The Players’ Champion is crowned during Nine’s grand final day broadcast.
THE PLAYERS' CHAMPION | CONTENDERS
Brisbane Broncos: Payne Haas, Jake Turpin, Herbie Farnworth, Alex Glenn.
Canberra Raiders: Josh Hodgson, Jordan Rapana, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs: Jake Averillo, Luke Thompson, Nick Cotric, Nick Meaney.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: William Kennedy, Connor Tracey, Blayke Brailey, Toby Rudolf.
Gold Coast Titans: David Fifita, AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Reuben Garrick.
Melbourne Storm: Christian Welch, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith, Nicho Hynes.
Newcastle Knights: Jacob Saifiti, Connor Watson, Jayden Brailey, Daniel Saifiti.
North Queensland Cowboys: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Reece Robson, Jason Taumalolo, Scott Drinkwater.
Parramatta Eels: Clint Gutherson, Isaiah Papali'i, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Reed Mahoney.
Penrith Panthers: Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo, James Fisher-Harris, Jarome Luai.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds, Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker, Cameron Murray.
St George Illawarra Dragons: Blake Lawrie, Ben Hunt, Jack Bird, Tariq Sims.
Sydney Roosters: James Tedesco, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Joseph Manu, Angus Crichton.
Vodafone Warriors: Reece Walsh, Addin Fonua-Blake, Tohu Harris, Marcelo Montoya.
Wests Tigers: Luke Brooks, Adam Doueihi, Daine Laurie, Stefano Utoikamanu.