Inia Katia was top premier try scorer this season and is a finalist for premier player of the year. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

A lock, halfback and flanker-turned-prop will compete for the premier player of the year award at the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union awards dinner on August 29.

Carterton captain Lachie McFadzean will go up against Gladstone halfback Inia Katia and Eketahuna’s Sam Gammie for the accolade.

All three have genuine claims they can put towards winning the award, with McFadzean an inspirational leader in Carterton’s run to the Tui Cup final.

Katia was a standout performer all season for Gladstone, and will pick up the trophy for the top try-scorer in the premier grade.

Gammie toiled away in an Eketahuna team that failed to make an impact, and showed his class and versatility by switching to prop for Wairarapa-Bush.

The female player of the year category will be fiercely contested among three of the region’s most talented secondary school players.

Kelsey-Rose Watt [Wairarapa College], Brodee Walker [Makoura College] and Aaliyah Allen [Solway College] are the players up for the award.

The Maori player of the year award is another one that will be tough to pick, and features three finalists who have all made a telling mark on Wairarapa rugby this season.

Isaac Bracewell was a revelation for Carterton at halfback this season, but he will face tough competition from the Martinborough pair of Tristan Flutey and Tipene Haira, who are both part of the Wairarapa-Bush Heartland Championship squad.

Haira will be guaranteed to receive at least one award after finishing as the top points scorer in the premier grade this season.

The college player of the year is arguably the toughest category of all to pick a winner, with three finalists who have been star performers all year for their respective teams.

Wairarapa College First XV captain Sam Smith has been a formidable figure in a team that performed well against the top schools from Wellington.

But equally impressive were Rathkeale College’s Harry McKay and Jack Eschenbach, who continually showed their class in the Central North Island Championship competition.

When it comes to club of the year, Tui Cup champions Gladstone will face competition from runners-up Carterton, and Martinborough.

The Best and Fairest award winner has already been announced, and that will go to Pioneer’s Te Awhiorangi Henare-Kuru.

Award finalists

Premier player of the year: Lachie McFadzean [Carterton], Inia Katia [Gladstone], Sam Gammie [Eketahuna].

Female player of the year: Kelsey-Rose Watt [Wairarapa College], Brodee Walker [Makoura College], Aaliyah Allen [Solway College].

Maori player of the year: Isaac Bracewell [Carterton], Tristan Flutey [Martinborough], Tipene Haira [Martinborough].

Coach of the year: Jerome Pitt [Puketoi], Chris Senior [Carterton/Makoura College], Steve Thompson [Gladstone].

Volunteer of the year: Mike Geenty [Wairarapa College], Abbey Maher [Puketoi], Cath Thompson [Gladstone].

Senior administrator of the year: Rachael Colton [Martinborough], Donald Irvine [Puketoi], Dick Tredwell [East Coast].

JAB administrator of the year: Nicole James-Boyce [Pioneer], Malcolm Jasper [Tuhirangi], Kaitlin Russell [Martinborough].

College player of the year: Jack Eschenbach [Rathkeale], Harry McKay [Rathkeale], Sam Smith [Wairarapa College].

Personality of the year: Graeme Reisima [referee], Warren Reiri [East Coast], Richie Wards [Featherston].

Referee of the year: Chris Jefferies, Ryan Hardman, Kaleb Rowlands.

Club of the year: Carterton, Gladstone, Martinborough.

Premier top points scorer: Tipene Haira [Martinborough].

Premier top try scorer: Inia Katia [Gladstone].

Best and fairest: Te Awhiorangi Henare-Kuru [Pioneer].