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Tadulala top contender for award

Friday, January 02, 2009

BRADFORD Bulls try scoring sensation Semi Tadulala is the surprise nominee for the Australia Fijian Rugby League player of the year award.

Tadulala, who ply's his trade in England, is amongst the four players vying for the prestigious Petero Petero Civinoceva Medal.

The other contenders include Fiji Bati skipper Wes Naiqama (Newcastle Knights), Ashton Sims (Brisbane Broncos) and John Sutton (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

AFRL chairman James Pickering said the board decided to put Tadulala's name on the nominees list because of his magnificent try scoring feat in the English Super League last year.

"Semi was one of Bradford's top try scorers," Pickering said.

"He scored a total of 23 tries in 26 games. That included a hat-trick of tries on five separate occasions. So we felt that such an achievement in any competition is worthy of being recognised for this prestigious award. Those sorts of statistics helped Jarryd Hayne win this same award last year."

The major awards will now go to a vote amongst a judging panel that will include several AFRL board members, two journalists and Civinoceva himself.

National coach Joe Dakuitoga and Shane Morris will judge best Australian Fijian Fiji Bati player of the year.

The nominees for this category include Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Aaron Groom (Canterbury Bulldogs), Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights) and Ashton Sims (Brisbane Broncos).

Pickering expects a full house for the awards on the back of the massive year that Fiji experienced in the sport last year. He said all other awards would be decided by the separate coaching staffs for each respective AFRL team.

"It was a year of first's for Fijian rugby league last year in terms of what events we played and the success that we had at these events," the former Fiji Bati said.

"Our under-16 won the first ever Development Cup staged by the New South Wales Rugby League. The Fiji Bati reached the semi-final of the Rugby League World Cup for the first time. Our Australian Fijian senior team went on its inaugural tour of Great Britain and remained unbeaten. It will be great night to reflect on all this as well as pay tribute to our players and sponsors who made 2008 such a memorable year."

The AFRL awards night will be held at the Mascot RSL in Sydney January 25. The categories with nominations are as follows:

The Petero Civinoceva Medal (Australian Fijian Player of the Year) - Wes Naiqama (Newcastle Knights), Ashton Sims (Brisbane Broncos), John Sutton (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Semi Tadulala (Bradford Bulls).

The James Pickering Rising Star Award - Peni Tagive (Wests Tigers), Jason Bakuya (Cronulla Sharks), Stan Waqa (Sydney Roosters), Junior Roqica (Wests Tigers).

The Noa Nadruku Trophy (AFRL Player of the Year) - Lepani Waqa (St Mary's), Samu Wara (North Sydney Bears), Esala Vute (Moore Broncos), Eloni Vunakece (Balmain Tigers).

Australian Fijian Fiji Bati Player of the Year - Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Aaron Groom (Canterbury Bulldogs), Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights), Ashton Sims (Brisbane Broncos).

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