Michael Luck named Warriors player of the year
New Zealand Warrior Micheal Luck has tackled his way to the National Rugby League (NRL) club's player of the year award.
Luck, 27, last night claimed the trophy ahead of prop Sam Rapira and winger Manu Vatuvei.
The competition's top tackler in 2007 (959) and 2008 (957), he broke through the four-figure barrier this year by racking up 1053 tackles.
In the 14-14 draw away to Melbourne in April, the loose forward pulled off an NRL record 74 tackles.
The only other players to top 1000 tackles in a season so far have been Canberra’s Alan Tongue with 1087 in 2006 and Melbourne’s Richard Swain with 1004 in 2001.
However, with the Warriors’ season over, David Stagg (Bulldogs) 992 and Nathan Friend (Gold Coast) 971 can overtake Luck’s total during this year’s finals.
Of the 23 games he played, Luck made 50-plus tackles in a match six times including 65 in the extra-time draw with Penrith.
He will head into his fifth season with the club in 2010 needing just two more appearances to become the 17th player to reach the 100-game milestone for the Vodafone Warriors.
While Luck snared the main award, 19-year-old prop Russell Packer was named the Young Player of the Year ahead of his former NYC team-mate Kevin Locke (20), who scored 60 points in 12 NRL games this year, and back rower Lewis Brown (22), another first-grade debutant this season who went on to play 15 games for the Warriors. In 21 games, Packer averaged almost 100 metres a game and 23 tackles.
Picking up the Clubman of the Year award was Rapira, who will now take on the mantle of the club’s One Community ambassador, a title Vatuvei had this year after winning the clubman accolade in 2008.
Like Luck, Rapira missed only one match all season. He epitomised the qualities of a true club man both with his inspirational on-field attitude and his off-field efforts.
Locke was voted the Supporters’ Player of the Year.
Winners of the Warriors’ Player of the Year Award from 1995-2009:
1995 Tea Ropati
1996 Stephen Kearney
1997 Stacey Jones
1998 Joe Vagana
1999 Jason Death
2000 Robert Mears
2001 Jerry Seuseu
2002 Ali Lauitiiti
2003 Francis Meli
2004 Wairangi Koopu
2005 Ruben Wiki
2006 Steve Price
2007 Steve Price
2008 Simon Mannering
2009 Micheal Luck