Shaun Johnson’s stellar 2023 season has been capped with three awards including the One New Zealand Warriors’ highest accolade – the Simon Mannering Medal – at the club’s 29th annual awards at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland tonight.
In a season of singular achievement he was also judged by his peers as the players’ player of the year and won the One New Zealand People’s Choice award voted by the public.
The triple sweep comes five days out from Johnson celebrating his 33rd birthday on the same day the One New Zealand Warriors meet Penrith in their first NRL finals match in five years.
In winning the premier award, Johnson emulates the great Stacey Jones, the only other halfback to receive the accolade in the club’s history when he was honoured in 1997.
Also rated as a strong chance to win the prestigious Dally M Medal as the NRL’s player of the year, Johnson has been in sublime form throughout his first season back home since the 2018 season.
He was on the field for all but 22 minutes of a possible 1842 minutes in the first 23 games of the campaign before being rested for Saturday’s final regular season match against the Dolphins.
He’s the competition’s fifth highest points-scorer this year with 176 including eight tries, his best season tally since he scored 10 tries in 2016.
Johnson has more try assists than any other player with a career-best 27 plus 24 line break assists, 16 line break involvements, 10 line breaks and 38 tackles breaks.
He has dominated kicking statistics with the most kick metres (11,866) and most kicks (383) while he is a close second for most attacking kicks (190) and one off the top for most short drop-outs with 25.
Yet it was Johnson’s defensive efforts including his kick-chase which won plaudits from his teammates and coaching staff alike. He has made a career-high 433 tackles so far at an effective tackling rate of 92 per cent, the best he has ever achieved.
Along with the accolades it has been a momentous season for milestones for Johnson. He became only the fifth players to appear in 200 NRL matches for the One New Zealand Warriors while he also reached his 250th career appearance and was the first player to top 1000 points for the club. He also re-signed with the Warriors for the 2024 season.
The other nominees for the Simon Mannering Medal and the players’ player of the year award were of the highest calibre; fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, prop Addin Fonua-Blake and captain Tohu Harris have all had exceptional seasons as well.
As well as the player awards, Johnson was also a nominee for the NRL club man of the year accolade along with Nicoll-Klokstad, Montoya and Watene-Zelezniak. That honour went to Nicoll-Klokstad for his efforts in his first season back with the club.
The rookie of year award had a field of Taine Tuaupiki, Ronald Volkman, Ali Leiataua and Demitric Sifakula with fullback Tuaupiki honoured after making five appearances during the season.
Volkman was voted the New South Wales Cup players’ player of the year ahead of Kalani Going, Setu Tu and Paul Roache.
The nominees for the overall New South Wales Cup player of the year award were Going, Volkman, Tuaupiki and Setu Tu with Going, who made his NRL debut on Saturday, taking out the title.
Vying for the New South Wales Cup team man of the year were Sifakula, Roache, Going and Ali Leiataua. Leiataua and Sifakula were joint winners.
ONE NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS AWARDS | 2023
New South Wales Cup Players’ Player of the Year | Ronald Volkman
New South Wales Cup Player of the Year | Kalani Going
New South Wales Team man of the Year | Ali Leiataua and Demitric Sifakula
One New Zealand Warriors People’s Choice | Shaun Johnson
NRL Rookie of the Year | Taine Tuaupiki
NRL Clubman of the Year | Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
NRL Players’ Player of the Year | Shaun Johnson
Simon Mannering Medal | Shaun Johnson
ONE NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS PLAYER OF THE YEAR | 1995-2023
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)
2022 Euan Aitken (Simon Mannering Medal)
2023 Shaun Johnson (Simon Mannering Medal)
Departing/departed players | #253 Bayley Sironen, #254 Ben Murdoch-Masila, #261 Taniela Otukolo, #264 Viliami Vailea, Valingi Kepu, Otukinekina Kepu
One New Zealand Warriors debuts:
NRL | #279 Taine Tuaupiki, #280 Demitric Sifakula, #282 Ali Leiataua, #283 Kalani Going, #284 Paul Roache
One New Zealand Warriors | #273 Brayden Wiliame, #274 Te Maire Martin, #275 Mitchell Barnett, #276 Jackson Ford, #277 Marata Niukore, #278 Dylan Walker, #281 Luke Metcalf
50 NRL appearances |#238 Josh Curran, #276 Jackson Ford
50 One New Zealand Warriors appearances | #252 Addin Fonua-Blake, #256 Marcelo Montoya, #238 Josh Curran, #253 Bayley Sironen
100 NRL appearances | #240 Wayde Egan, #256 Marcelo Montoya, #277 Marata Niukore
100 One New Zealand appearances | #224 Tohu Harris
150 NRL appearances | #252 Addin Fonua-Blake
200 NRL appearances | #224 Tohu Harris, #278 Dylan Walker
200 One New Zealand appearances | #168 Shaun Johnson
250 NRL appearances | #168 Shaun Johnson
1000 NRL points for One New Zealand Warriors | #Shaun Johnson