2017 NRL Victoria Awards Recap

2017 Award Winners – NRL Victoria


This season provided many highlights within the domestic competition and to a higher level in the representative programs.


The recipients of each award at the Awards Night were determined by NRL Victoria’s Awards Panel which was composed of Joseph Ryan [NRL Victoria Chairman], Brent Silva [NRL Victoria General Manager] and Greg Brentnall [NRL Strategy Consultant]. 


The weekend’s Awards Night gave NRL Victoria and all clubs the chance to celebrate the contributions made by all volunteers and referees to our great game. The referees’ contribution to our game is invaluable and this gives all referees the chance to be rewarded for their efforts throughout the year.


While the players play a pivotal role for the success of Rugby League in Victoria, volunteers are just as important for the continual success. Without the aid of helping on match days and organising teams, the success of 2017 would not have been possible.


After committing 20 years to the growth of Rugby League, Slav Civcic aims to ensure the growth of the Altona Roosters is paramount for the kids participating. While being the secretary for the club, Slav also lends a hand on game day being one of the clubs sports trainers, giving the players the best chance to reach their highest potential.


This year, Slav also began an initiative, in conjunction with the local government, with the introduction of ‘Work for the Dole’. This initiative helped Slav gain a stronger relationship with the local community as well as his Rugby League community.


Brian Michalowsky works tirelessly on weekends to provide all age groups the chance to participate with an official present. The role of the referee in most sports is extremely tough, with criticism thrown on a regular basis, however that doesn’t deter Brian.


Without Brian and Slav, and other volunteers within our Rugby League community, the competition wouldn’t be able to run and players wouldn’t have the chance to participate.


Our representative programs have excelled this year, with teams experiencing success at a national level in all age groups.


The Under 12 side were unfortunate to narrowly miss medal contention in their week-long competition in August. They were underdogs from the outset, being given the task of the toughest group with Queensland and New South Wales, however didn’t let that deter them from competing to the very end.


The Under 16s went on a week-long venture to New South Wales, where they visited NRL Clubs and competed against their club teams, putting up strong competition in each game.


In the Affiliated State Championships, Victoria showed their dominance with comprehensive victories with the Under 18’s claiming their 9th consecutive championship victory, while the Women’s team were also able to grab their own piece of silverware.


Katrina Edwards had an exceptional year for the Victoria Women’s team, scoring 9 tries for Truganina in the domestic competition. Edwards was selected in the Combined Affiliates State Team of the Tournament, who faced Cook Islands this week in a World Cup warm-up match in preparation for next month’s World Cup. She was the vice-captain for the State team in Adelaide, showing class, leadership and poise on and off the field, and was a well-respected member of the State team as well as the Combined Affiliate States team.


In our First Grade competitions, we saw some exciting talent rise to the occasion throughout the season, with some devastating individual performances. For the women, the trio from Truganina were dominant all year, playing massive roles in the teams eventual Premiership. With votes being hard to come by, it was a case of the girls taking them from each other, paving the way for Ngahuia Blair [Altona Roosters] to storm through and be the Player of the Year. Whilst the Roosters fell short of the Grand Final, their playmaker Blair polled three best on ground performances, finishing on 15 votes, two clear of the second-placed Hapuku.


For the Men, it was a one-man race from the beginning of the season. Having started the season with seven tries and polling 11 votes by round 5, Zev John didn’t let down his guard towards the end of the season. Altona narrowly missed finals, however, John performed for his team on a consistent basis, finishing with 19 votes, seven points clear of runner-up, Troy Hanita-Paki [Werribee Bears].


Development of these players to become successful is paramount, and would not be possible without our coaches. These coaches are created a strong platform for the success of all players aiming to go higher in Rugby League.


The success of coaches is not entirely performance based, with some having to coach multiple teams just so that players can get onto the field.


Being a coach of young teens who are approaching adulthood is difficult, to keep them interested and disciplined is one of the major struggles. However, Andrew Taylor embraces the challenge, mentoring his players and being a father figure for the young guys throughout the season. Taylor has been coaching for a number of years, winning multiple premierships, and again reaching the top this year with the Under 18s Sunbury team, their first ever in club history.


2017 Award Winners


  • Ø  Jordin Leiu [Junior Representative Player of the Year]
  • Ø  Katrina Edwards [Senior Representative Player of the Year]
  • Ø  Janan Billings [Contribution to Representative Program = VIC U18/CAS Coach]
  • Ø  Brian Michalowsky [Referee of the Year]
  • Ø  Andrew Taylor [Club Coach of the Year – Sunbury Tigers U18]
  • Ø  Slav Civcic [Volunteer of the Year]
  • Ø  Mernda Dragons [Spirit of League]
  • Ø  Te Aroha Hapuku [Women’s top Try Scorer]
  • Ø  William Sila [Men’s top Try Scorer]
  • Ø  Ngahuia Blair [Women’s Player of the Year – Altona Roosters]
  • Ø  Zev John [Men’s Player of the Year – Altona Roosters]



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