Cocksedge can’t crack glass ceil­ing

Weekend Herald - - Your Sporting Weekend - Wynne Gray Ken­dra Cocksedge has shown out­stand­ing form.

Ken­dra Cocksedge's out­stand­ing form for her prov­ince and the Black Ferns has pushed her into the frame for recog­ni­tion as New Zealand's player of the year.

It's an in­trigu­ing call and when the de­ci­sion is an­nounced at Thurs­day's awards I'll wa­ger Cocksedge will take hon­ours in the women's sec­tion but won't crack the glass ceil­ing for the over­all tro­phy.

There'll be an in­jus­tice if All Black hooker Codie Tay­lor does not get that recog­ni­tion for his con­sis­tently high lev­els of per­for­mance ahead of the other nom­i­nees Richie Mo'unga, Brodie Re­tal­lick and Cocksedge.

Cocksedge's el­e­va­tion to the fi­nal four will cre­ate de­bate about how the men's and women's games can be com­pared and whether that should oc­cur. On many lev­els of skill, de­ci­sion-mak­ing and im­pact there is a neg­li­gi­ble gen­der gap but in other parts of rugby there are dif­fer­ences which will not be closed.

Does that mean men and women should not be judged against each other or should they be rated on how dom­i­nant their per­for­mances are com­pared to col­leagues and ri­vals?

My hunch is that un­less the judg­ing panel changes and a Black Fern shows some Lomu-like dom­i­nance through­out a sea­son, the Kelvin Tre­main award will al­ways go to an All Black.

Un­less the judg­ing panel changes and a Black Fern shows some Lo­mu­like dom­i­nance through­out a sea­son, the top award will al­ways go to an All Black.

Four males and Farah Palmer are on the panel this year and while they have shown their ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Cocksedge's qual­i­ties in the na­tion's top fe­male side, I can't see their judg­ment sin­gling her out as the na­tion's player of the year.

Not be­cause of the shock­waves that de­ci­sion would send through the cer­e­mony au­di­ence at the Sky City Auck­land Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, those watch­ing on tele­vi­sion and oth­ers want­ing to en­gage in pub­lic dis­cus­sions but be­cause Tay­lor's work was on a dif­fer­ent level.

A bet­ter de­bate might be how Cocksedge's work at half­back through­out 2018 com­pared to the pro­duc­tion from Aaron Smith, TJ Per­e­nara and Te Toiroa Tahu­ri­o­rangi who played All Black tests this year.

Clearly the same judges have as­sessed her con­tri­bu­tions were bet­ter than the All Black trio and that her in­flu­ence on her side and re­sults was more pro­nounced than her male coun­ter­parts.

Not too many would quib­ble with that ver­dict. Smith's game wa­vered in cal­i­bre and con­tent through­out the year, Per­e­nara was bet­ter but his pass­ing re­mains a work in progress while we need to see more of Tahu­ri­o­rangi to get a bet­ter gauge.

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