There wasn't much to celebrate on the field this year, but Taranaki's performing players were commended at the annual Taranaki Amber and Black Awards ceremony last night.
Held at the Legend's Lounge at Yarrow Stadium, the awards were given to some of the star players from club, women's, 7s and ITM Cup rugby from 2013.
Taranaki's No 8, Blade Thompson was the star-of-the-show being presented with the Player of the Year award after a stand-out season, playing the full 80 minutes in every game. The Hurricanes loose forward, who was also awarded with the Sportsman of the Year award, was in tight competition with back Kurt Baker and captain Kane Barrett for the top prize.
However, Baker and Barrett were also praised? for their efforts during the year after been given the Back of the Year and Forward of the Year respectively.
Baker's humour also won him the Personality of the Year award and his brilliant try against Bay of Plenty saw him get the Try of the Year prize.
Taranaki's fullback Andrea Taylor and Seta Tamanivalu were the teams top try scorers after Baker won the award last year for nine tries. Taylor and Tamanivalu scored two tries in the last few matches. Tamanivalu was also the Most Promising Player after pipping second five-eighth Isaia Tuifia, who had a brilliant season busting through the line on a number of occasions.? ?
First year Taranaki prop Ryan Cocker impressed the judges as he was awarded with the Academy Most Valued Player. Cocker, from the Clifton club, played 7 games for Taranaki this year and had an outstanding debut season. Taranaki Manager Shane McDonald, was awarded with the Peter Crawford Trophy after his services to the game this year.
Adrian Wyrill was announced as the Development Player of the Year, despite leaving the field in their final match against Auckland U21 with a broken arm. Iopu Iopu, who had a form season with the development side, was commended with the Development Most Promising Player award, he too left the field against Auckland with injury.
In club rugby, Southern coach Willie Rickards was crowned the Coach of the Year after taking his side to a first title. Rickards will be back aiming to defending the title in 2014.
Tukapa's Mitchell Crosswell was announced as the Club Player of the Year, while Dean Spicer was named the Volunteer of the Year after his services to age-group rugby, particulary managing the Taranaki U16 side.
Other players who received awards were;
Michaela Blyde (Roger Urbahn Memorial Trophy – U18), Jack Jordon (Taranaki U20 Most Promising Player), Jared Proffit (Taranaki U20 Player of the Year), Ditte van Vilet (Taranaki Women Player of the Year), Lauren Burgess (Taranaki Women 7s Player of the Year), Warwick Lahmert (Taranaki 7s Player of the Year).
Volunteer of the year:
Club player of the year:
Mitchell Crosswell (Tukapa)
Club coach of the year:
Willie Rickards (Southern)
Roger Urbahn Memorial Trophy:
Taranaki under-20 most promising player:
Taranaki under-20 player of the year:
Taranaki development most promising player:
Taranaki development player of the year:
Taranaki women most promising player:
Taranaki women player of the year:
Ditte van Vilet
Taranaki women sevens player of the year:
Taranaki sevens player of the year:
Academy most valued player:
Peter Crawford Trophy:
Top try scorer:
Andre Taylor and Seta Tamanivalu
Top points scorer:
Personality of the year:
Sportsman of the year:
Most promising player:
Back of the year:
Forward of the year:
Try of the year:
Kurt Baker v Bay Of Plenty
Player of the year: