Junior Warriors hooker Nafe Seluini last night headed off fellow nominees fullback Glen Fisiiahi and prop Mark Ioane to win the club’s Vodafone NYC Player of the Year award.
Seluini, who has excelled as a livewire interchange dummy half, is the only one of 33 players used this year to appear in each of the Junior Warriors’ 25 matches so far.
Now in his third and final season in the competition, Seluini will again be used off the bench when his side faces the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in Friday night’s preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Victory for the John Ackland-coached team would clinch a berth in the NYC grand final for the first time.
Also able to play at fullback and on the wing, Seluini, a Tongan international, has scored 20 tries in all and is one of only two players to reach the 50-game milestone for the Junior Warriors since the NYC was introduced in 2008.
He and Elijah Taylor made their 50th appearances in the week one finals win over Manly on September 12, which put the second-ranked Junior Warriors within one game of reaching the grand final at ANZ Stadium on October 3.
Previous winners of the supreme award have been Taylor last year and Kevin Locke in 2008.
Last nights awards dinner at Mount Smart Stadium was attended by family, friends, Warriors staff and players plus sponsors and other guests. Among those in attendance were Warriors coaches Ivan Cleary and Tony Iro as well as captain Simon Mannering, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei and the now-retired Steve Price.
The Samsung NYC Club Person of the Year award went to prop Charlie Gubb, a first-choice front rower all season who has also distinguished himself with his work around the club and in the community.
In line for the Allied Work Force NYC Young Player of the Year were 2010 debutants hooker Henry Chan-Ting, second rower Sam Lousi and standoff Carlos Tuimavave. Tuimavave, who is eligible for the NYC for another two seasons, was named the winner after appearing in 17 of the 25 games so far. A back-up goal kicker, he has scored 82 points from eight tries and 25 goals.
The Junior Warriors have an open training session at Mount Smart Stadium from 5.30pm today before heading to Brisbane tomorrow.