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Harris wins Simon Mannering Medal for second year running

Tireless Vodafone Warriors back rower Tohu Harris has today been awarded the club’s highest accolade – the Simon Mannering Medal – for the second year running.

Despite a season-ending ACL knee injury limiting him to 15 appearances, the 29-year-old’s standout consistency was acknowledged again when the Vodafone Warriors’ 27th annual awards were held offshore for the first time in the club’s history due to Covid-19’s ongoing impact.

At a function attended by teammates, staff, families and old boys, Harris has become the fourth player to win the title in consecutive years after Steve Price, Simon Mannering and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Following on from his exceptional deeds in 2020, Harris had been in stellar form again only to have his ninth NRL campaign and his fourth with the Vodafone Warriors ended cruelly in the opening minutes of the 18th-round encounter against Penrith.

He lasted only 12 minutes of that match and was limited to 23 minutes after being forced off the field with a head knock against the St George Illawarra Dragons two weeks earlier. However, in his previous 13 appearances he had averaged 117 metres and 46 tackles a game; only three players finished the regular season with better average tackles per game numbers than Harris. Across his full 15 games, he still ranked ninth among all players for most average tackles per match.

The other nominees for the coveted award were prop Addin Fonua-Blake, centre-turned-second rower Euan Aitken and hooker Wayde Egan.

While the Simon Mannering Medal – jointly determined by the coaching staff and players – went to Harris, first-year Vodafone Warrior and stand-in captain Fonua-Blake was voted the players’ player of the year by his teammates.

The 25-year-old, like Harris, was limited to 15 appearances after being side-lined for a long period after picking up a serious knee injury in just the fourth round of the season. Despite that he was right up to his career-best form averaging 160 metres and 26 tackles a game.

Also in contention for the players’ player were Harris and winger Marcelo Montoya.

The 19-year-old Reece Walsh was a predictable choice for the Vodafone Rookie of the Year award following his wonderful deeds from the moment he made his debut at the age of 18 in the Anzac Day clash against Melbourne.

Signed to replace the departing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Walsh exploded onto the scene and was also almost immediately selected to make his State of Origin debut for Queensland, although injury subsequently ruled him out.

He finished the season as the club’s top try scorer with nine in 16 appearances while he averaged 119 metres a game. He led the club for try assists (11) and line breaks (14) while he was second for most tackle breaks with 53.

The other rookie candidates were centre Rocco Berry and winger Edward Kosi.

The fourth of the club’s main awards, the Canterbury of New Zealand Clubman of the Year, was won by Montoya, another first-year Vodafone Warrior.

The 25-year-old marked his arrival at the club with consistent performances across his 18 appearances, finishing with five tries and averaging a career-best 123 metres a game.

On hand to present the awards were former players Aaron Whittaker (#48), Kevin Campion (#86), Michael Witt (#134) and Nathan Friend (#171).

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS AWARDS | 2021   

Vodafone NRL Rookie of the Year  | Reece Walsh

Canterbury of NZ Clubman of the Year | Marcelo Montoya

NRL Players’ Player of the Year | Addin Fonua-Blake

Simon Mannering Medal | Tohu Harris

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS PLAYER OF THE YEAR | 1995-2021

1995 Tea Ropati

1996 Stephen Kearney

1997 Stacey Jones

1998 Joe Vagana

1999 Jason Death

2000 Robert Mears

2001 Jerry Seuseu

2002 Ali Lauitiiti

2003 Francis Meli

2004 Wairangi Koopu

2005 Ruben Wiki

2006 Steve Price

2007 Steve Price

2008 Simon Mannering

2009 Micheal Luck

2010 Manu Vatuvei

2011 Simon Mannering

2012 Ben Matulino

2013 Simon Mannering

2014 Simon Mannering

2015 Ben Matulino

2016 Simon Mannering

2017 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

2018 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Simon Mannering Medal)

2019 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Simon Mannering Medal)

2020 Tohu Harris (Simon Mannering Medal)

2021 Tohu Harris (Simon Mannering Medal)

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Departing/departed players | #147 Leeson Ah Mau, #186 Chad Townsend, #201 Ken Maumalo, #203 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, #221 Peta Hiku, #229 Karl Lawton, #235 Hayze Perham, #249 Paul Turner, Isaiah Vagana.

Vodafone Warriors debuts:

NRL | #258 Rocco Berry (v Melbourne, Rd 7), #259 Reece Walsh (v Melbourne, Rd 7), #260 Edward Kosi (v North Queensland, Rd 8), #261 Taniela Otukolo (v Newcastle, Rd 15), #264 Viliami Vailea (v Wests Tigers, Rd 20), #265 Jackson Frei (v Canterbury Bankstown, Rd 22)

Vodafone Warriors | #251 Euan Aitken (v Gold Coast, Rd 1), #252 Addin Fonua-Blake (v Gold Coast, Rd 1), #253 Bayley Sironen (v Gold Coast, Rd 1), #254 Ben Murdoch-Masila (v Gold Coast, Rd 1), #255 Sean O’Sullivan (v Canberra, Rd 3), #256 Marcelo Montoya (v Sydney Roosters, Rd 4), #257 Kane Evans (v Manly Warringah, Rd 5), #262 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (v St George Illawarra, Rd 16), #263 Matthew Lodge (v Cronulla Sutherland, Rd 17).

Achievements:

50 NRL appearances |#240 Wayde Egan

50 Vodafone Warriors appearances | #236 Kodi Nikorima

100 NRL appearances | #252 Addin Fonua-Blake

100 Vodafone Warriors appearances | #201 Ken Maumalo

100 Vodafone Warriors appearances | #203 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

150 NRL appearances | #221 Peta Hiku, #262 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

100 appearances as Vodafone Warriors captain | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

50 NRL tries | Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

200 NRL points | Kodi Nikorima, Dallin Watene Zelezniak