Throughout the year, we here at the NYC Database have been keeping a leaderboard for our own, pointless Player of the Year award. Using a 3-2-1 voting system, much like the Dally M Medal system, and going mainly 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 I get into it, a huge thank you to every one who has checked out the website this year. 2016 has been the site’s biggest year yet and I appreciate every rugby league fan who has had a look around, liked us on Facebook or given a follow on Twitter. Again, thank you.
NYCDB PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Nat Butcher (Sydney Roosters), Matthew Dufty (St George Illawarra Dragons)
After 26 rounds played, over 1000 points tallied, rain soaked games and an abandoned one thrown in there too, we have… a draw. Much like the Holden Cup, there’s no golden point extra time here, but we do have two deserving winners in Nat Butcher and Matthew Dufty, who finished level on 29 points.
Nat Butcher was absolutely immense for the Roosters in 2016. The son of former first grader Blake Butcher, Nat averaged 184.5 metres and 42.7 tackles per game, the most of any regular Holden Cup player. 18th man for the Junior Kangaroos in May, Butcher was rewarded with his NRL debut in Round 26 and was awarded the Arthur Beetson Medal for Roosters NYC Player of the Year this week. NYC-eligible again in 2017, we suspect Butcher is destined for the higher grades next season.
St George Illawarra’s Dufty has had a stellar 2016, which has seen him equal Drury Low’s competition record of 54 career tries. The fullback averaged 155.8 metres per game, scored 23 tries in 20 games, made 21 linebreaks and showed off his ball playing abilties with 19 try assists and 19 line break assists. He also lead in the league in tackles breaks with 146 and kick return metres with 1270. In brilliant news for Dragons’ fans, the Penshurst junior re-signed with the club until the end of 2018 in late July.
POTY leader board: Matthew Dufty, Nat Butcher (29 points), Jayden Brailey (28 points), Brandon Smith (27 points), Kalyn Ponga (25 points), Dylan Edwards (21 points)
NYCDB ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders), Gehamat Shibasaki (Brisbane Broncos)
To be eligible for the Rookie of the Year award, a player must of made his NYC debut in 2016. When it came to rookies, I just couldn’t split young centres Nick Cotric and Gehamat Shibasaki.
Cotric, who turns 18 in November, caught the attention of a lot of people this season, playing 20 games for the Raiders and representing the Australian Schoolboys mid-year. He scored 7 tries and made 130 tackle breaks, averaging about 6.5 a game. He re-signed with the Canberra earlier this year and was named in the official NYC Team of the Year. While he hasn’t earned the fanfare Cotric has, Shibasaki has had quite a big year. He played every game for the Broncos in 2016, on top of representing Queensland U18 and Queensland U20. The Cairns junior scored 14 tries and averaged 135 metres per game.
Honourable mentions: Max King (Gold Coast), Scott Drinkwater (Melbourne), Nick Meaney (Newcastle), Maia Sands (South Sydney), Taniela Paseka (Wests Tigers)
NYCDB CAPTAIN OF THE YEAR
Jayden Brailey (Cronulla Sharks)
He captained the side from Round 1 to Round 26 and led them into the top four, Cronulla’s Jayden Brailey was the leader of the attack and defence for the Sharks in 2016. The hooker led the league in try assists (31) and line break assists (32) and was the competition’s leading tackler (927) on top of that, averaging about 38 per game. A former Australian Schoolboy, Brailey was named on the bench in the NYC Team of the Year and finished second in voting for the NYC Database Player of the Year.
Honourable mentions: Cooper Bambling (North Queensland), Patrick Herbert (St George Illawarra), Zac Woolford (Canberra), Denzal Tonise (Parramatta)
NYCDB REP PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jaydn Su’A (Brisbane Broncos – Junior Kangaroos, Queensland U20)
A man of the match effort in May’s Junior Test put Jaydn Su’A on the radar for plenty of fans this season. He ran for 212 metres, the most of any player that day. The second rower would make his NRL debut a few weeks later, becoming the Broncos’ youngest ever starting forward in the process. In July, the 18-year old captained Queensland U20, his side’s best player in a losing effort.
Honourable mentions: Nathan Cleary (Junior Kangaroos), Brian Kelly (Junior Kangaroos, NSW U20), Curtis Scott (Junior Kangaroos, NSW U20), Alex Twal (Junior Kangaroos, NSW U20)
NYCDB COACH OF THE YEAR
Cameron Ciraldo (Penrith Panthers)
The NYC Team of the Year coach for two years straight and a worthy winner of our Coach of the Year award. Ciraldo backed up last year’s minor premiership with another in 2016, and has his sights set on back-to-back premierships. The Panthers boasted the best defensive record of all time (382 points conceded) and went on a record-equalling 13-game winning streak and record breaking 16-game undefeated streak. All this while using 38 different players throughout the year and losing some of their best to the NRL and NSW Cup.
Honourable mentions: Aaron Payne (North Queensland), Mathew Head (St George Illawarra), John Morris (Cronulla), Brett White (Canberra)
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+ games). A player’s position was determined by where they started the majority of their games.
Fullback: Matthew Dufty (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Who else but our co-Player of the Year? The New South Wales U20 representative scored an impressive 23 tries in 20 games and led the league in tackle breaks and kick return metres.
Honourable mentions: Kalyn Ponga (North Queensland), Dylan Edwards (Penrith), William Kennedy (Cronulla), Josh Bergamin (Canterbury)
Wing: David Fauid (Brisbane Broncos), Marcus Jensen (North Queensland Cowboys)
In his first year in the NYC, Brisbane’s David Fauid finished equal first in line breaks (24), averaged 124 metres per game and was finished as the Broncos’ top try scorer with 15. Marcus Jensen joined the Cowboys as train and triallist but ended the year as the NYC’s leading try scorer (24), a Queensland U20 rep and earned an NRL contract with the Cowboys. Not bad.
Honourable mentions: Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury), Ratu Tuisese (Penrith), Jermaine Mati-Leifi (Parramatta), Sione Katoa (Cronulla)
Centre: Nick Cotric (Canberra), Tyrell Fuimaono (Parramatta Eels)
As mentioned earlier, Cotric was a standout in his rookie year. The 17-year old broke 130 tackles and had 12 line breaks and 11 try assists to go with it. South Sydney-bound Tyrell Fuimaono was an attacking beast in 2016. He averaged 173.8 metres per game, and broke almost 6 tackle a game. He also finished second in the league in offloads with 41.
Honourable mentions: Patrick Herbert (St George Illawarra), Braidon Burns (Penrith), Lachlan Stein (Cronulla), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)
Five-Eighth: Veiru Mapesone (Wests Tigers)
A player I believe flew a bit under the radar in 2016 was the Tigers’ Veiru Mapesone. He had 9 tries in 20 games and finished the regular season with 19 try assists and 28 line break assists, the most of any regular five-eighth. He also averaged 78.3 running metres per game.
Honourable mentions: Jai Field (St George Illawarra), Scott Drinkwater (Melbourne), Josh Rogers (Gold Coast), Michael Doolan (Parramatta)
Halfback: Troy Dargan (Parramatta)
The halfback in the NYC Team of the Year and the halfback of the year in ours. Dargan topped all halfbacks when it came to try assists (27) and line break assists (25). He kicked for 4311 metres from his 19 games, averaging 226 per game, to put him 3rd in both categories.
Honourable mentions: Jarome Luai (Penrith), Cooper Bambling (Cowboys), Jack Payne (St George Illawarra), Rhys Davies (Cronulla)
Hooker: Jayden Brailey (Cronulla)
Our captain of the year and the leader of the league in try assists (31), line break assists (32) and tackles (927). A brilliant year from the Sharks’ captain.
Honourable mentions: Brandon Smith (North Queensland), Zac Woolford (Canberra), Grant Garvey (Sydney Roosters), Kalolo Saitaua (Brisbane)
Prop: Tyrone Amey (Newcastle), Blake Lawrie (St George Illawarra)
One of the most underrated players in the competition, in my opinion, Tyrone Amey was the Knights’ forward leader in 2016, averaging 134 metres and 22 tackles. In a young team, Amey was the consistent presence in the pack. Perhaps another surprising pick, Blake Lawrie played the first two games before injury. He returned in Round 14, moved to prop and averaged 165 metres and 34 tackles a game, the most of any prop.
Honourable mentions: Alex Twal (Parramatta), Taniela Paseka (Wests Tigers), Darryn Schonig (North Queensland), Cowen Epere (Penrith)
Second Row: Luciano Leilua (St George Illawarra), Jaydn Su’A (Brisbane)
Possibly the most dangerous player in the comp, Luciano Leilua averaged 143 metres, had 13 line breaks, broke 94 tackles and finished the regular season with 16 try assists and 14 line break assists. Su’A enjoyed another great year in the NYC. He averaged 141 metres and almost 4 tackle breaks a game. On four occasions this year the Junior Kangaroo ran for over 200 metres in a game.
Honourable mentions: Jack Williams (Canberra), Corey Waddell (Penrith), Topiese Taufa (St George Illawarra), Jack Morris (Parramatta)
Lock: Nat Butcher (Sydney Roosters)
Our other co-Player of the Year, Butcher averaged 184.5 metres and 42.7 tackles per game. He made 200+ metres in a game five times and 50+ tackles a game seven times.
Honourable mentions: Max King (Gold Coast), Nathan Leatigaga (St George Illawarra), Ray Stone (Wests Tigers), Jordan Kenworthy (North Queensland)
Dylan Edwards (Penrith Panthers)
Before moving up to the NSW Cup, Edwards was on fire. He averaged 189 metres, 7 tackle breaks and a line break per game. Most likely finishes as our Player of the Year had he played the full season.
Kalyn Ponga (North Queensland Cowboys)
In any other year Ponga is the first choice, standout fullback of the year. The 18-year old averaged 138 metres and 6 tackle breaks a game. He finished the regular season with 18 line breaks, 17 try assists and 20 line break assists.
Brandon Smith (North Queensland Cowboys)
Neck and neck with Jayden Brailey for hooker of the year, Smith was outstanding for the Cowboys in 2016. He scored 16 tries, averaged 94 metres a game and finished equal-first in line breaks with 24.
Jack Williams (Canberra Raiders)
One of the most consistent players in the competition, Williams played 23 games for the Raiders, averaging 122 metres and 30 tackles a game.