Saturday night the RACV Club played host to the return of the annual NRL Victoria Awards.
The event celebrated the best of the best in the Victorian rugby league community, with players, volunteers and key stakeholders from around the state coming together.
Truganina Rabbitohs star Ben McIntyre took home the Storm Premiership Men's First Grade Player of the Year, while Werribee Bears forward Tiana Kani was crowned the Storm Premiership Women’s First Grade Player of the Year.
McIntyre had a season to remember, recording an impressive 23 tries, 115 goals and 322 points. Having polled in 10 matches throughout the year, including four best-on-ground performances, the halve was a dominant force for the Truganina side on their way to taking out the Storm Premiership Men’s First Grade Competition.
An ultra-consistent middle forward, Kani led from the front for the Bears, not missing a single game to take out the premiership. After 12 years playing in Melbourne, Kani announced she will be hanging up her boots, bowing out a premiership player and Player of the Year winner.
Following over 200 submissions for the 2022 Volunteer of the Year, the honourable title went to Elly Buchanan from the Pakenham Eels.
Buchanan regularly attends local festivals ensuring her club has stalls present, growing its name within the community. She has recently been accepted into the local council’s female leaders’ program, continues to build relationships with council and community groups and is always there on game day preparing the field.
Up-and-coming players, Victorian rugby league leaders and committed contributors were also acknowledged and awarded for their efforts in bringing together a successful 2022 season.
Following a stunted few covid-impacted years, the NRL Victoria Awards were a much-deserved occasion showcasing the passionate people ensuring football in Victoria continues onward and upward.
Full List of Award Winners
Men's First Grade Best and Fairest: Ben McIntyre
Women's First Grade Best and Fairest: Tiana Kani
Men's Second Grade Best and Fairest: Alti Porter
Men's Third Grade Best and Fairest: Romia Roi
Murray Cup Men's Player of the Year: Bailey Muras
Murray Cup Women's Player of the Year: Georgia Seton
Volunteer of the Year Award: Elly Buchanan
Coach of the Year Award: Damien Riki
Referee Award: Spencer Kassimir
Teacher of the Year Award: Mia Ami
Spirit of League Award: Eastern Raptors
Female Representative Player of the Year: Koreti Leilua
Male Representative Player of the Year: Takitau Mapapalangi
Contribution to Representative Program Award: Jason Warr
Top Pointscorer Men's: Ben McIntyre (322 points)
Top Pointscorer Women's: Kerry Vaivao (64 points)