Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Super 14 awards for the season
By TOBY ROBSON, The Dominion Post
Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Player of the year:
Hooker Andrew Hore. And not just because his try-scoring antics paid for my kids' tuition?
We loved:
Lock Jason Eaton's wildman look and his decision to chop his locks and give the money to a cancer charity fund. Prop Neemia Tialata's suplex technique, perfect!
Special mention:
Jerry Collins. One of the most honest players the Hurricanes have had bowed out with a bit of style instead of announcing that he had been sold to the highest bidder.


Player of the year:
Openside flanker Richie McCaw (of course! who else?). Unlike the rest of us, Captain Fantastic put the World Cup behind him and moved on! Good on ya Richie.
We loved:
Ali Williams and Ross Filipo turning up to a media session dressed as The Phantom and Spiderman. I for one, would pay to watch a match where all the players were dressed as their favourite superheroes. How good would the stretchy guy in Fantastic Four be in the lineouts!
Special mention:
Coach Robbie Deans. Special contract for a special guy. Takes the Aussie job, keeps his Crusaders job, reaches the Super 14 final, picks an Australian test team, and has 2000 people wear Deans masks at his farewell do. Please don't go!


Player of the year:
Wing Lelia Masaga. Someone tell me why he missed out on the All Blacks training squad?
We loved:
Ungainly first-five Stephen Donald's roller-coaster season. From missing easy goal kicks to fluky chip and chases, the knobby-kneed Chief was the model for perserverance.
Special mention:
The Chiefs' physio and doctor have been the busiest in the business for years. They thought the 60-hour weeks were over when Keith Robinson retired last year, but Jono Gibbes and the current side proved the Chiefs are as injury prone as ever.


Player of the year:
Wing Fetu'u Vainikolo, and not just for the brightly coloured boots.
We loved:
The team's haircuts. The Highlanders brought back the classic flowing southern mullet. It started with the self-proclaimed God Father of the Mullet, Tim Boys, and spread like gorse. Top efforts from big men Jamie Mackintosh, for the dreadlock mullet, Clint Newland, the flowing mullet, and Hayden Triggs, the Palmerston North special.
Special mention:
Adam Thomson's late season Magnum PI- slash-R18 movie genre moustache was a season highlight.


Player of the year:
Jerome Kaino. The big man finally added workrate to his ball running prowess. Maybe he's been talking to JC?
We loved:
Wing David Smith's late season form and his decision to sign with Wellington and the Hurricanes for next season.
Special mention:
Coach David Nucifora. Anyone who can coach teams, bale out halfway through the season, then walk into another job is truly special.


Best comedic performance:
Sharks flanker Epi Taione put on 50 minutes of slapstick humour in the semifinal loss to the Waratahs. All that was missing was a plank of wood and some canned laughter for Tonga's version of Buster Keaton.
Best hairdo:
The award goes to Sharks centre Frans Steyn for his Bret Michaels, 80s heavy metal special. It gets better by the week. Honorable mention to Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane for his outrageously big forehead award. Reds players Digby Ioane, the pseudo Samoan spike, and Rodney Blake for his soft and bouncy curly moo-lay were Australia's best.
Best use of technology:
Australian referee Paul Marks for his use of the TMO in the Hurricanes-Sharks match.
Best use of sarcasm:
Teamtalk's Best use of technology, in Teamtalk Awards, 2008.
Best quote:
"My question is just why, why wouldn't you?" – Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper on referee Paul Marks' decision not to use the TMO. Cooper was seen yesterday still mumbling to himself: "Why? Just why? I don't understand, why Paul? Why?"

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