For the second straight year, the NYC Database have been keeping votes for our Player of the Year award. Using a 3-2-1 voting system and going off the few games on Fox Sports and statistics from the games we didn’t see, we’ve been awarding points to the three best players of every game, every round. Now, 26 weeks later, we have the results and a few other awards too throw in too.
Before we start, a massive thank you to everyone who has checked out the website this year. 2016 was a big year for the site but 2017 has blown it out of the water and that’s thanks to the readers. The Holden Cup may be coming to an end but junior rugby league isn’t and we’ll still be here covering all the junior competitions across the country in 2018.
NYCDB PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos), Billy Magoulias (Cronulla Sharks)
For the second year running it’s a dead heat in our Player of the Year voting, with the two deserving co-winners in Patrick Carrigan and Billy Magoulias finishing on 26 points.
Patrick Carrigan was an iron man in the middle for the Broncos in 2017. In 73.1 minutes per game, the lock forward averaged more running metres than any forward in the competition with 189.2 and added 34.3 tackles to go with it. The Easts Tigers junior ran for 200+ metres on four occasions, hitting 305 in his side’s Round 24 win over the Dragons. Born January 1, 1998, Carrigan is still under-20s eligible in 2018 but it looks like Intrust Super Cup, and possibly NRL, is in his near future.
Despite playing in such a dominant team, Cronulla captain Billy Magoulias was able to stand out with some brilliant performances in 2017. As the Sharks’ ran away with the minor premiership, Magoulias was a danger man on both sides of the ball, averaging 67.8 minutes, 138.7 metres, 36.8 tackles, 3.6 tackle breaks and 2.6 offloads per game. The lock forward led the league in offloads with 61 and was top 5 in total tackles with 846. In August, he re-signed with the Sharks until the end of 2017.
POTY leader board: Patrick Carrigan, Billy Magoulias (26 points), Greg Leleisiuao (25 points), Beau Cordtz, Wayde Egan (21 points), Caleb Aekins, Corey Horsburgh (20 points)
NYCDB TEAM OF THE WEEK MVP
Greg Leleisiuao (Parramatta Eels)
In 2017, after every round we posted a Team of the Week and Player of the Week for the first time. This award goes to the player who accumulated the most selections and Player of the Week award. We couldn’t come up with a better name for it.
10 Team of the Week and 3 Player of the Week selections throughout 2017 sees Parramatta winger Greg Leleisiuao pick up our first ever Team of the Week MVP award. After two seasons with the Titans, Leleisiuao moved to the Eels and picked up where he left off in 2015 after a stunted 2016 season. A two-time Junior Kiwi, he scored 17 tries in 19 games. In just six of those games did Leleisiuao not run for 200+ metres. He also averaged 10.8 tackle breaks (a competition high) and 1.4 line breaks per game. In Round 9 against the Cowboys, he scored 3 tries, ran for 307 metres, broke 14 tackles and had 6 line breaks.
NYCDB ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
To be eligible for our Rookie of the Year award, a player must of made his NYC debut in 2017.
Standing at 194cm and weighing in at 117kg, Brisbane prop Payne Haas won’t turn 18 until December. Just let that sink in for a second. Despite being 17 for the entirety of the season, Haas was a dominant force for the Broncos. Averaging 157.1 metres and 6.2 tackle breaks per game, Haas’ defence was just as impressive as his attack. The New South Wales under-18 Origin captain averaged 27.9 tackles per game and missed just 0.8 tackles per match. Eligible for under-20s competitions for the next two years, don’t be surprised to see Haas in the big leagues sooner rather than later.
Honourable mentions: Jake Clifford (North Queensland), Tristan Sailor (St George Illawarra), Sam Johnstone (South Sydney), Hayden Loughrey (Newcastle Knights)
NYCDB CAPTAIN OF THE YEAR
Jack Williams, Billy Magoulias (Cronulla Sharks)
In 2017, Cronulla were one of the most dominant NYC sides of all time. Before getting injured five-eighth Jack Williams captained the side to a 13 win, 2 loss, 1 draw record before Magoulias took over in Round 17. The Sharks won 15 games straight, the competition’s best ever winning streak, on their way to the minor premiership. Seven points clear of second placed Penrith, the side also had an 18 game unbeaten streak, a drew with the Panthers in Round 7 denying them 18 straight wins.
Honourable mentions: Stuart Mason (St George Illawarra), Reed Izzard (Penrith), Mitchell Dunn (North Queensland), Denzal Tonise/Dean Matterson (Parramatta)
NYCDB REP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jai Field (St George Illawarra Dragons – Junior Kangaroos, New South Wales U20)
Trailing by six points in this year’s Under-20 Origin, a moment of Jai Field brilliance swung the momentum back in the Blues’ favour as they went onto make it six straight wins. 5 minutes after half time, Field dazzled Maroons’ defenders with his footwork and sprinted 35 metres to score in the corner. He converted his try from the sideline and his side would never trail again. Earlier in May’s Junior Test, Field would show his pace again to score a long range try and set up another in the Kangaroos’ big win over the Junior Kiwis.
Honourable mentions: Brodie Croft (Junior Kangaroos, Qld U20), Blake Lawrie (Junior Kangaroos, NSW U20), Reece Robson (Junior Kangaroos, NSW U20), Jaydn Su’A (Junior Kangaroos)
NYCDB COACH OF THE YEAR
John Morris (Cronulla Sharks)
The official NYC Coach of the Year, Cronulla’s John Morris is the obvious choice for our award as well. After taking the Sharks to a Top 4 spot in 2016, Morris went a few better in 2017, winning the minor premiership with an 18-game undefeated streak along the way. The Sharks had the best attack (920 for), defence (446 against) and best points differential (+474) in the competition, finishing with 43 competition points.
Honourable mentions: Ryan Carr (South Sydney Rabbitohs), David Tangata-Toa (Penrith Panthers), Wayne Collins (St George Illawarra), Wayne Lambkin (Manly Sea Eagles)
NYCDB Team of the Year
To qualify for our Team of the Year, a player had to have played over half the season in the NYC (12 or morge games). A player’s position was determined by where they started the majority of their games.
Fullback: Beau Cordtz (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Beau Cordtz didn’t take over as the Rabbitohs’ fullback until Round 5 but his form from then until the end of the season was too good to go past. The diminutive Mount Wellington junior scored 12 tries in 21 games and averaged 132.7 running metres, cracking 200+ metres in four games. He led all regular fullbacks in try assists (16) and line break assists (18). A key member in South Sydney’s late run to the finals.
Honourable mentions: Caleb Aekins (Penrith Panthers), Matt Cooper (Newcastle), Kalyn Ponga (North Queensland), William Kennedy (Cronulla Sharks)
Wing: Greg Leleisiuao (Parramatta Eels), Sione Katoa (Cronulla Sharks)
There’s not much more to be said about Greg Leleisiuao’s 2017 season, the winger averaging 211.1 metres and 10.8 tackle breaks per game, scoring 17 tries in 19 games. The competition’s top try scorer, Sione Katoa was just as damaging as Leleisiuao this season. With 23 tries in 24 games, he averaged 145.4 metres, 1.5 line breaks and 10 tackle breaks per game. He actually led the league in tackle breaks with 239.
Honourable mentions: Mikaele Ravalawa (Canberra Raiders), Daniel Brown (Penrith Panthers), Michael Carroll (North Queensland Cowboys), Mitch Andrews (Newcastle Knights)
Centre: Phillip Sami (Gold Coast Titans), Kurt Wiltshire (North Queensland Cowboys)
One of the centres in the NYC Team of the Year, Phillip Sami’s strong form earned him NRL call up during the season. The Queensland U20 representative averaged 174.3 metres and 6.1 tackle breaks per game. An underrated performer in 2017 in my opinion, North Queensland’s Kurt Wiltshire averaged 163.7 metres a game and scored 13 tries in 19 games. He only averaged 1.5 missed tackles per game, the lowest among regular centres.
Honourable mentions: Gehamat Shibasaki (Brisbane Broncos), Daniel Brownbill (Gold Coast Titans), Morgan Harper (Canterbury Bulldogs), Isaac Lumelume (Cronulla Sharks)
Five-Eighth: Tristan Sailor (St George Illawarra Dragons)
One of the toughest positions to pick, St George Illawarra’s Tristan Sailor just edged it as he led his side into the Top 4. The son of rugby league great Wendell Sailor, Tristan played the first three games of the season on the wing before moving to five-eighth, where he flourished. He played every game for the Dragons, scoring 15 tries, averaging 105.5 running metres and recording 14 try assists and 14 line break assists.
Honourable mentions: Dean Matterson (Parramatta Eels), Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters), Tom Wright (Manly Sea Eagles), Mitchell Dunn (North Queensland Cowboys)
Halfback: AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans)
AJ Brimson was one tough player to stop in 2017, scoring 20 tries in 21 games. He averaged 101 metres per game and 4.1 tackle breaks per game, more than any regular halfback. He finished fourth in try assists with 18, and added 16 line break assists, and averaged 156.8 kick metres per game. Defensively he was one of the more reliable halfbacks, with only three players averaging less missed tackles than him.
Honourable mentions: Kyle Flanagan (Cronulla Sharks), Jake Clifford (North Queensland Cowboys), Sean O’Sullivan (Sydney Roosters), Hayden Loughrey (Newcastle Knights)
Hooker: Wayde Egan (Penrith Panthers)
Recently re-signed with Penrith, Wayde Egan had an oustanding season in 2017. Despite spending time in the NSW Cup, he scored 16 tries in 18 games and averaged 64.5 metres and 33.4 tackles per game. He finished the regular season with 14 try assists and 16 line break assists. His season was highlighted by his performance in Round 10 against the Warriors, where he scored 4 tries and ran for 103 metres.
Honourable mentions: Blayke Brailey (Cronulla Sharks), Manase Fainu (Manly Sea Eagles), Reed Mahoney (Parramatta Eels), Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
Prop: Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos)
Ok, so we went against our own rules here. Patrick Carrigan was named at prop in just 3 of his 18 games but we couldn’t relegate our co-Player of the Year to the bench. There’s not much else to say here, we’ve already spoken about the 2017 efforts of the Brisbane’s two middle men. Great seasons by these two Broncos.
Honourable mentions: Sam Johnstone (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Stefano Hala (Penrith Panthers), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Thomas Mikaele (Wests Tigers)
Second Row: Briton Nikora (Cronulla Sharks), Reed Izzard (Penrith Panthers)
Briton Nikora was a terror on the edges for the Sharks in 2017. The Junior Kiwi scored 16 tries in 23 games, averaging 122.2 metres, 4.5 tackle breaks and 28.1 tackles per game. He scored hat tricks in Rounds 15 and 22. A reliable member of the Panthers’ NYC side since 2015, Izzard captained the side in 2017 and had a standout season, averaging 113.3 metresand 30.7 tackles per game.
Honourable mentions: Beau Fermor (Melbourne Storm), Jack Murchie (Canberra Raiders), Sam McIntyre (Newcastle Knights), Reuben Porter (Sydney Roosters)
Lock: Billy Magoulias (Cronulla Sharks)
Again, not much more to say here. Magoulias was fantastic in 2017, in attack and defence. He averaged 67.8 minutes, 138.7 metres, 36.8 tackles, 3.6 tackle breaks and 2.6 offloads per game
Honourable mentions: Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters), Corey Horsburgh (North Queensland), Gabe Hamlin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jesse Martin (Manly Sea Eagles)
Blayke Brailey (Cronulla Sharks)
Like his older brother Jayden, Blayke was a maestro from dummy half for the Sharks, leading the league in try assists (28) and line break assists (26), like his brother did a year earlier.
Kyle Flanagan (Cronulla Sharks)
Sharks’ halfback Kyle Flanagan didn’t just beat the record for most points in a season, he obliterated it. He scored 19 tries and kicked 134 goals for a monster 344 regular season points.
Corey Horsburgh (North Queensland Cowboys)
The red headed Horsburgh was the Cowboys’ forward leader in 2017. He led all Cowboys forwards in metres and tackles, averaging 149.9 metres and 34.1 tackles per game.
Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters)
Radley spent time in the NRL and NSW Cup in 2017 but his form while in the NYC was quite remarkable. In 15 games, he averaged 151.9 running metres, 37.5 tackles and 3.6 tackle breaks.