It’s time to look back over the 2010 season and hand out awards to those members of the Sharks squad that we feel are particularly deserving! So, without further ado, let’s head straight into the official Sharksworld Awards for 2010 (drum roll)…
Heading back to the Super 14, which really wasn’t a particularly pleasant one for the Sharks, our first award goes to the Super 14 Player of the Year. While there really weren’t a huge number of contenders, we ended up narrowing this down to one of two players – both forwards. While Willem Alberts was certainly a revelation and made his presence felt whenever he had the opportunity to play, we felt that for commitment to the team and playing a major role in the side’s mid-campaign turn-around, we simply couldn’t award this one to anyone other than captain courageous himself, John Smit.
The Vodacom Cup competition was another disappointing one for the franchise in 2010, with the Sharks XV losing out badly to the eventual champions from Pretoria in the semi-final. While there were the expected strong showings from stalwarts including Justin Downey and Anton Bresler, we simply could not overlook the fact that one of the players emerged as the top points scorer over-all in the competition, despite not even playing all the games. It was a tough old season for Monty Dumond, but he is definitely our Vodacom Cup Player of the Year for 2010.
We opted to hand out an award for the Super 14 Newcomer of the Year too and there simply cannot have been a more impressive debutant, across the entire competition, than Patrick Lambie in 2010. A special mention in this category must also go to Lwazi Mvovo, though, who was superb and made the most of the chances he got.
Moving on to the latter half of the season, we start with awards for the players who stood out most in the age-group teams. Our Under 19 Player of the Year award could have gone to a number of players, with centres Piet Lindeque and Heimar Williams among the competitions’s finest. We’ve opted to go with tough-as-nails flanker Francois Kleinhans, though, for the superb work he puts in game after game. He’s a youngster with a huge future ahead of him and we hope he will do the black and white proud for many seasons to come.
In the Under 21 competition, there were again some very strong performances, with Wynand Pienaar in particular emerging as a strong contender at fullback and Piet Lindeque also not looking out of his depth when asked to step up. Our call for the Under 21 Player of the Year award, though, is none other than pint-sized winger Mark Richards, who was simply devastating with ball in hand all competition long and scored the lion’s share of the sides tries.
We’ve also opted to give a Most Promising Young Player award to none other than Piet Lindeque. The incredibly talented young centre wasn’t ever given the luxury of settling in a single team as he moved around between the senior squad, under 21 and under 19 sides as required. Emerging as the Sharks’ top try-scorer in the under 19 competition and never looking out of his depth, even when playing for the senior side in a pre-season friendly, we expert great things of this chap in 2011.
In the Currie Cup, picking a player of the year was much harder, simply because there were so many brilliant players to choose from as the team collectively stood up and made amends for the Super 14 in the best possible way. Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel and Craig Burden all stood out massively, but we’ve decided that in terms of simply being that much better than any of his competitors in every single game he played, our Currie Cup Player of the Year simply has to be Willem Alberts.
Again, we’ll give a Currie Cup Newcomer of the Year award to the most impressive player to first represent the Sharks in this year’s competition. While Alberts is technically also eligible for this award, we felt that Eugene van Staden was a more deserving recipient. Louis Ludik deserves a very honourable mention in this category too, of course.
Looking at the season as a whole, we can give out a few more awards too. Forward of the Year once again goes to Willem Alberts, for the way he consistently stood out and delivered top performances throughout the Super 14 and Currie Cup. Backline Player of the Year is Pat Lambie, for reasons that are far too numerous (and blindingly obvious) to list here. Our award for Best Attacking Player of the Year goes to Lwazi Mvovo for his amazingly consistent ability to create a moment of magic out of ball that is seemingly going nowhere. Best Defensive Player of the Year could have gone a number of ways, but the statistics don’t lie and the player to have consitently topped the tackle count every time he got onto the field was none other than the stalwart Jacques Botes, with Alistair Hargreaves deserving an honourable mention.
Our Most Improved Player of the Year award goes to Charl McLeod and again the reasons for this one are pretty self-evident. The award for Team Player of the Year – for the guy who always gives his utmost for the good of the team and is prepared to accept whatever fate the coach has in store for him – goes to Craig Burden this year, just a nose ahead of Stefan Terblanche. We’ll also hand out an award for Workhorse of the Year to the player whose efforts often go unnoticed on the field, yet consistently lays the platform that allows others to excel and in this case, we can think of no more deserving recipient in 2010 than Steven Sykes, with Jannie du Plessis pushing him hard every time he played. Our penultimate gong is for the Comeback of the Year – awarded to a player who appeared to have used up all his chances without ever making them count, before turning all of that around and really stepping up to the plate this season. This one, of course, could not go to anyone other than Andries Strauss.
Our final award is for the Most Valuable Player – the guy who we feel summed up everything that it meant to be a part of the Sharks team in 2010. Not necessarily the best-performing player every week from an individual perspective, but the guy who contributes most to the team from a number of perspectives, including leadership, work ethic, attack, defence, motivation and a whole number of others. In short, he needs to be a strong nominee in just about all of the above categories, the perfect all rounder, if you like. This year, we have decided that the Most Valuable Player for the Sharks in 2010 had been none other than Keegan Daniel.
A special mention, of course, to the administration and coaching staff, as well as all the other members of the team, both on and off the field, who helped to make 2010 a memorable and ultimately successful one for the Sharks. Keep up the good work, gang and let’s make 2011 a big one for the black and white!Tweet