The 2016 Mole Awards
RLW’s fearless rodent breaks down the season that was
Signing of the year:
James Maloney. The Roosters struggled all year in his absence as he guided the Sharks to their maiden premiership.
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.
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.