Let’s look back on this year’s amazingly successful Currie Cup campaign and hand out awards to the players that we feel did particularly well. The rotation system does, of course, make this task a little more difficult this year, but we’ll do what we can to adapt.
Without further ado, I present the Sharksworld Awards for the 2013 Currie Cup season!
Best Attacking Player: The Sharks displayed some great attacking intent throughout the campaign, scoring some lovely tries as a result. While we had the usual bunch of “grafting” forward scores in the mix, this campaign was also marked by something of a return to incisive backline play, with two players in particular sticking out. Heimar Williams, in his debut season, regularly found himself on the scoresheet and was furthermore instrumental in creating far more tries than he ended up scoring. He narrowly misses out this time, though, to our eventual winner, SP Marais. Attack is in this kid’s blood and he’s very, very good at it!
Best Defensive Player: The sheer amount of rotation amongst the loose forwards, in particular, makes this one very difficult to give. A number of players put their hands up very strongly, with stalwarts like Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel and Louis Ludik always consistent. Our award, though, is shared by two players who always stood out for their work-rate on defence, even though they may not have enjoyed too much game time. Take a bow Justin Downey and Tera Mtembu.
Best Debutant: This one is awarded to a young player who first played Currie Cup this year and was judged to show the most promise. While Jaco van Tonder and Heimar Williams must come into the picture here, there can only be one real winner. This year, the award goes to Fred Zeilinga.
Best Newcomer: Also known as the “best buy” award, this goes to the player coming into the Sharks squad for the first time this campaign who has made the biggest impact. While it would be wrong to undervalue the contribution made by Marco Wentzel before his injury, this one really cannot go to anyone other than SP Marais.
Most Improved Player: This one goes to the player who has made the biggest gains in terms of personal form and consistency over the course of the campaign. A guy like Danie Mienie came strongly into the reckoning here, but we have decided to go with a guy who played more overall and give the award to Peet Marais.
Best Team Player: To the man who selflessly places the needs of the team above his own. We’ve decided this campaign, captain Keegan Daniel should be the recipient of this award.
Best Comeback:Given his form at the start of the campaign, compared to how he played in the Final, can this go to anyone other than Charl McLeod?.
Most Consistent Player: It’s always hard to look past Louis Ludik for this sort of award; even from an unfamiliar position, he delivered games of an unfalteringly high quality all season long. Honourable mentions here to a host of others, including Jacques Botes, Odwa Ndungane and Tim Whitehead.
Most Valuable Player: This one goes to the player without whom the Sharks would have lost far more matches than they did this year. Like a good wine or cheese, he just keeps getting better with age. Our choice is Odwa Ndgungane,.
Best Forward: Over the campaign, the man who has made the biggest overall contribution to the Sharks’ play up-front. In an incredibly congested category, we give this to Jean Deysel.
Best Back: The backline player who has delivered the best combination of attacking and defensive play, with a few moments of real magic thrown in. We’re going to make a somewhat controversial choice here and share the award between Fred Zeilinga and Heimar Williams.
Best Player: The player whose contribution over the course of the season has been the greatest, balancing out attack, defence, work-rate, commitment, attitude and consistency. This one, we’ve decided, is impossible to award for this campaign, so we’re going to cop out and award it to Keegan Daniel, representing the entire squad. That’s perhaps fitting, given the way in which this campaign was played.
Best Try: There were a number of strong contenders; Charl McLeod’s second in the Final was great, as was Cobus Reinach’s late score against the Cheetahs in Durban, set up by Jaco van Tonder. We’re going to go with Fred Zeilinga’s superb effort against the Lions at Ellis Park, though, as our winner.Tweet