Summer Solstice Awards 2013

No, these aren’t awards for the best tan. The Summer Solstice Awards are awards exclusive to Solstice Satisfaction for the most outstanding players in NRL for the year. 2013 has been an up-and-down year for rugby league, what with the ASADA investigations and other dramas interrupting the game, but the game still goes on. The following are categories for the inaugural Summer Solstice Awards:

Fullback of the Year
Winger of the Year
Centre of the Year
Five-eighth of the Year
Halfback of the Year
Prop of the Year
Hooker of the Year
Second Rower of the Year
Lock of the Year
Captain of the Year
Coach of the Year
One to Watch in 2014
Player of the Year

Without further ado, here are your award recipients for 2013.

Fullback of the Year
Billy Slater, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

One third of the Storm’s “Big 3”, Billy Slater has had – as per usual – an exceptional year in his role as fullback for the Melbourne Storm and also for the Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos squad. His phenomenal footwork and excellent runs have rightfully earned him the title for Fullback of the Year for SolSat. See ya later Slater!
Runner up: Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Winger of the Year
Sisa Waqa, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

Despite missing the first several rounds due to a hand injury, Sisa Waqa proved he was a deadly winger when he returned to the field, boasting 12 tries and 2582 metres run in the 2013 season. The #flyingfijian definitely looks to be comfortable in SolSat’s Winger of the Year position for the year.
Runner up: James McManus (Newcastle Knights)

Centre of the Year
Justin Hodges, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_JustinHodges

Comparing his play to other centres, Justin Hodges definitely has his own unique touch to his role as centre for the Brisbane Broncos. Hodgo has a knack of busting out runs out of nowhere and he makes them look so seamlessly easy. Trying to put aside unnecessary #bronxnation bias aside, Hodgo has earned himself the right of Centre of the Year.
Runner up: Jamie Lyon (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

Five-eighth of the Year
Johnathon Thurston, North Queensland Cowboys
Cowboys_JohnathonThurston

Perhaps the most valuable player in rugby league today, there was no question in my mind that Johnathon Thurston deserved this recognition. He serves as the captain, goalkicker and playmaker for the Cowboys and in his spare time, plays the important role of father to his newborn baby. It is with great humility that I give Thurston this award for 2013.
Runner up: Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

Halfback of the Year
Cooper Cronk, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

One of the most impressive players when it comes to form in 2013 is this man, Cooper (Donkey) Cronk. Acting as the key playmaker for the Storm, Cronk has been one of the key factors for the Storm’s success in recent years. I dare anyone to challenge this as I award Cooper Cronk for Halfback of the Year.
Runner up: Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Prop of the Year
Matt Scott, North Queensland Cowboys
Cowboys_MattScott

To me, a prop should be a rough powerhouse who charges into a pack of defenders with no fear and will only be brought down by two or more players. Matt Scott fits that definition to a tee and that is why I have chosen the Cowboys co-captain to be Prop of the Year for 2013.
Runner up: Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Hooker of the Year
Cameron Smith, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

In my opinion, the role of the Hooker is one of the most important in the team. It should be no surprise to anyone that the Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith is awarded the Hooker of the Year title as he continues to prove why he is probably the greatest player in the game today.
Runner up: Jake Friend (Sydney City Roosters)

Second Rower of the Year
Sonny Bill Williams, Sydney City Roosters

Roosters_SonnyBill

Probably the main reason why the Chookies have been in top form all season is the acquisition of this man, Sonny Bill Williams. The man is known for his hard hits and his out-of-nowhere offloads, sometimes referred to as “Sonny Bill offloads”. This large brickhouse of a man takes out the Second Rower of the Year award with ease.
Runner up: Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans)

Lock of the Year
Corey Parker, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_CoreyParker

There was absolutely no bias in choosing Corey Parker as Lock of the Year. The Bird has reached top form in his career in 2013 with outstanding performances in both the Broncos and the Maroons squad. He continues to show why he may be one of the most underrated players in the game today and arguably the best Lock in the game.
Runner up: Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks)

Captain of the Year
Johnathon Thurston and Matt Scott
Cowboys_JohnathonThurston Cowboys_MattScott
As one of the many league fans who are advocates of the co-captain gimmick, I happily award the Captain(s) of the Year title to both Thurston and Scott. The Cowboys started the year in the bottom rungs of the ladder before catapulting into the top 8 and I’d like to think that is largely due to the roles Thurston and Scott played as co-captains of the squad.
Runner up: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)

Coach of the Year
Craig Bellamy, Melbourne Storm
Storm_CraigBellamy
The man may be a bit aggressive at times but he knows how to get the job done, as made evident by the Storm’s steamrolling success in recent years. The intensity he takes to the game rubs off on his players well and that is why Bellamy easily earns the recognition of Coach of the Year.
Runner up: Geoff Toovey (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

One to Watch in 2014
Corey Oates, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_CoreyOates
In his handful of appearances in first grade footy for the Broncos, Corey Oates has never failed to impress me with solid performance after solid performance in his role as winger. It is clear that the 18-year-old has his whole career ahead of him and if he continues to play in 2014 like he did this year, the Broncos will be in the top 8 next year.
Runner up: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Player of the Year
Cooper Cronk, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots
As difficult as this decision was to make, I eventually gave in and chose the man who has clearly been one of the top players in the entire NRL for 2013. The intense no-nonsense Cooper Cronk has earned the Summer Solstice award for Player of the Year in 2013. Congratulations Cooper!
Runner up: Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)

And there you have the first recipients for the Summer Solstice awards in 2013! As always, discussion is welcome so feel free to comment on who you thought deserved these awards. Good day, SolSatters!

– by Noah La’ulu

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