2022 Ken Allen Wrap Up – Tuuta-Edwards Impresses

It was a night of nights at the Ken Allen Awards on Wednesday, 31st August 2022.

The awards ceremony was held at the Matilda Bay Restaurant, based on the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. On the shores of the Derbarl Yerrigan, or Swan River, dignitaries, players, coaches and volunteers alike gathered together to celebrate another year in the NRL WA. Joined by the Chairman of the ARLC WA, Mr Bob Cronin AM, along with General Manager, Mr John Sackson and the Hon. Peter Charles Tinley AM, MA, the stage was set as MC Nick Neary led the proceedings. With the Allen Family in attendance, the stage was set.

All the players of the year are picked by referee votes from each fixture, with a 3-2-1 system being judged on by the referees.

And it was Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards who walked away with a stack of awards and the main honour of the night. The Lock Forward from the Rockingham Sharks was a standout in the competition this year and walked away with the Ken Allen Medal, The Lion FM “Players Player” Trophy and the Lock Forward in the team of the year.

But plenty of others had their spot in the spotlight as well on a night of nights.

Fremantle Women’s League Tag star Shanaaz Te-Ahuru was the All Flags Signs And Banners League Tag player of the year after an amazing season. With some hot competition from many players within her team and outside, she was a worth winner, which was presented by Peter Wagener. Te-Ahuru is a talented outside back who can run and ball play with the best of them, and will be looking for all guns firing this weekend in the GF.

In one of the more open seasons of Val Murphy Trophy, or reserve grade, we have seen in recent memory, it was the tireless Shane Toka from the North Beach Sea Eagles who received the MMM Regional Radio Network Player of the Year, presented by Ian Kennedy from MMM Radio Network. A gutsy undersized forward, he never the less puts his heart into every run and tackle.

Next up was the Healthway Fuel To Go & Play Women’s Player Of The Year, presented by Peter Tinley. And it went to the young gun hooker from the Kwinana Titans, Samantha Wood, who’s game went to a whole new level this year as a mainstay of the debut women’s Titans team.

Our Women’s team of the year was next. Again based on the referee votes, if a player had played this position during the season then they were eligible to be selected in that spot for the side. And an amazing team it was, with class in every position. It is a positional team, so only 10 players were selected.

Fullback – Sinead Loundes – North Beach Sea Eagles
Wing – Jeune-Kelly Mahuru – Joondalup Giants
Centre – Tamika Jones – North Beach Sea Eagles
Five-Eight – Mahinarangi Clair – Ellenbrook Rabbitohs
Halfback – Melissa-Jane Buchanan – Rockingham Sharks
Prop Forward – Cherysh Leaf – Rockingham Sharks
Hooker – Samantha Wood – Kwinana Titans
Second Row – Heather Matoe – Fremantle Roosters
Lock – Anneka Stephens – Joondalup Giants
Coach – Ed Easter – North Beach Sea Eagles

We then made our way to our volunteer of the year awards, and this is always a highly touted award. Our game wouldn’t be what it is without the tireless efforts of our volunteers at club land. And this year was no exception. We couldn’t split the ladies volunteer of the year, with Angela Terrell from the South Perth Lions and Lynette Wikaira from the Joondalup Giants being awarded the honour. And Fremantle President Steve Revere received the Male Volunteer of the year, with a monster year culminating in moving into a new facility, hosting the junior grand final and having 3 senior sides in a grand final.

The super important Rod Tiley Media Award was announced next, with Marie Tiley speaking on her late husbands behalf. Rod was a servant to our game in the media, and this honours out media partners who allow us to take our great game to another level. And this was awarded to 91.3 Sport FM who are always going above and beyond for all rugby league, down at the community level all the way up to the elite NRL here in WA. Matt Grubeleski was on hand from Sport FM to accept the award, and was effusive in his praise of the late Colin Minson, the founder of Sport FM 91.3 for making all this possible.

Next up were the Player’s Player Awards, presented by Michael Galpin from Lion, another great sponsor of the game here in Western Australia. The peer vote is a very important one to the players, as they are the one’s going up against each other week after week. General rule is you cannot vote for someone from your own team, and must give 3-2-1 votes for opposing players.

The Women’s Players Player, sponsored by Consolidated Energy, was the closest vote ever in the short history of the award. But Mahinarangi Clair from the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs emerged as the winner, narrowly defeating Tamika Jones (Sea Eagles) and Samantha Wood (Titans). A ball playing half or lock this year, Clair took her game to another level, helping to lead the Rabbitohs to a shot at a 5th consecutive premiership.

The Men’s Players Player, sponsored by Lion, was the opposite of the ladies. The most one sided vote ever in the 5 year history of the award, the competition was effusive in their praise of the winner, Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards. The big lock forward from the Sharks is not just appreciated on the field, but a good person off the field as well.

Phil Gregson from Healthway was up next to present the Senior Club Champions, and the Overall Fuel To Go & Play Club Championship. The Senior Club Champions were the North Beach Sea Eagles, and Dale Lofts was on hand to accept the award. A man who loves the microphone, he was effusive in his praise not just for the work North Beach was doing, but the whole competition. And urged everyone in the room to keep up the efforts. And the Overall Fuel To Go & Play Club Championship went to the Rockingham Sharks. A monster in the junior and senior space, new President Brett McMillan was obviously subdued about the Premiership team missing out on a chance to play in this weeks grand final, but was humbled and deeply appreciative of the award.

 

The NRL WA Cash Converters Team of the Year was presented by Megan Reynolds from Cash Converters, who continue their long association with Rugby League, and are really at the heart of what NRL WA has been for a long time. Again based on the referee votes, if a player had played this position during the season then they were eligible to be selected in that spot for the side. And an amazing team it was, with class in every position. It is a positional team, so only 10 players were selected.

Fullback – Tuakana Rangihaeata – Fremantle Roosters
Wing – Travis Haney – Joondalup Giants
Centre – Quintin Fui – Rockingham Sharks
Five-Eight – Paora Kemp – Fremantle Roosters
Halfback – Eddie Proudler – South Perth Lions
Prop Forward – Joell Irvine – Joondalup Giants
Hooker – Andrew Jeffrey – Rockingham Sharks
Second Row – Payden Porter – Joondalup Giants (not available)
Lock – Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards – Rockingham Sharks
Coach – Delane Edwards – Fremantle Roosters (not available)

And as we wound the night up with the Ken Allen Medal itself, it was a humble and appreciative Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards who accepted the award from Kevin Allen and his daughter Tanaya. Winning the count this year with a modest total of 16, he was able to hold off a score of other players, topped by brilliant fullback Tuakana Rangihaeata, to win the the feature medal. The final count is below.

A night to remember for all involved. Onto the grand final this weekend.