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Dunedin flanker Hame Toma took home the honours last night after being presented with the award at the end-of-season function at Southern’s clubrooms.
He follows on from the 2015 winner, Southern’s Adam Knight, and 2016 joint winner, Green Island’s Jackson Hemopo, who won alongside Dunedin’s Mark Grieve-Dunn.
Player points are awarded each week by Otago Daily Times rugby writers watching every club game, as well as Radio Sport club rugby correspondents.
Toma topped the points this year, edging out Harbour loose forward Ben Whale.
A strong ball carrier who plays a physical game, Toma was a key player in a strong Dunedin forward pack all season.
He helped the team reach the semifinals, before it was toppled 40-27 by Harbour.
Southern first five-eighth Josh Ioane also got in on the silverware.
He was the inaugural winner of the coaches’ player of the year award.
The award followed a similar format, with coaches awarding three, two and one point to players in the opposition each week.
Ioane was also the most prolific points-scorer with 171, which broke down to three tries, 33 conversions and 30 penalties.
Southern No8 Mika Mafi was the leading try scorer with 11.Adam Morrison walked away with the top referee award.
Five players were also recognised for bringing up 100 games during the season.
Three of those were Southern players: prop Michael Mata’afa, lock Simon Knight and women’s flanker Kim Carruthers.
Taieri outside back Kori Rupene and Kaikorai midfielder Danny van der Voort also reached the milestone.
The right to host the awards night may be highly contested next year, as it seems to bring with it an element of success.
Alongside Southern hosting this year’s awards ceremony, last year’s function was held at the clubrooms of 2016 premier champion Kaikorai.