The 2016 Mole Awards

RLW’s fear­less ro­dent breaks down the sea­son that was

Rugby League Week - - News -

Sign­ing of the year:

James Mal­oney. The Roost­ers strug­gled all year in his ab­sence as he guided the Sharks to their maiden pre­mier­ship.

Loy­alty award:

To the War­riors, who sacked Andrew McFad­den as head coach but kept him on as an as­sis­tant in what amounts to a first in this cut­throat business.

Pass of the year:

To Can­berra cen­tre Joey Leilua for his re­mark­able around-the-back ball that re­sulted in a try for his winger Jor­dan Ra­pana against the Tigers. Benji Mar­shall stuff.

Best new per­son­al­ity:

Knights winger Nathan Ross, a throw­back to the old days with his love of the game and re­fresh­ing hon­esty with the me­dia. And the kid can play, too.

Head in the sand award:

To the Eels of­fi­cials who cheated the salary cap, cost their team 12 points, yet still tried to re­tain their jobs.

Best new face:

Teenage play­maker Nathan Cleary. He’ll lead the Pan­thers to a pre­mier­ship within the next five years. Re­mem­ber where you heard it first.

The did I re­ally say that? award:

Blake Fer­gu­son, who quit the Sharks a few years back be­cause “I want to win a pre­mier­ship . . . I just want to be in a sta­ble place where I can concentrate on winning a ti­tle”. Oops.

Most im­proved player:

Sharks prop Matt Prior, a plod­der at best for many years who came of age in Cronulla’s his­tory-mak­ing fi­nals cam­paign.

Fiji Farce Award:

To Aus­tralia for se­lect­ing Fi­jian Semi Radradra for the mid-sea­son Test against the Ki­wis — a clas­sic case of not car­ing about the in­ter­na­tional game.

Two-up award:

To Sharks skip­per Wade Gra­ham, who changed his call on the coin toss to de­ter­mine who would re­ceive the ball in golden point against the Ti­tans.

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