OLD Hararians and Zimbabwe international utility backliner Gardner Nechironga could cap off a memorable season with a top prize after being nominated for the prestigious Lion Lager National Rugby League Player of the Year Award.
Nechironga, who joined OH at the start of the season after parting ways with German club SC Neuenheim, helped the Old Boys lift their first national title in eight years.
His versatility in the backline and ability to score crucial tries in key matches made OH one of the most consistent teams in the league as they lost only once all season.
Nechironga will however face stiff competition from Harare Sports Club teenage flyhalf Teddy Boxer, who finished as the league’s top points scorer with 230 points, ahead of OH’s Tichafara Makwanya on 185 points.
Teddy Hwata, also nominated for the Backline Player of the Year award, was the leading light for Harare Sports Club despite their failure to challenge for honours.
Also in the running for the top accolade of Player of the Year is Old Georgians’ top try scorer Farai Jijita.
Matabeleland Warriors’ loose forward Lucky Sithole is contender for the Forward of the Year award together with Jijita and OH’s Tawanda Chowe.
Meanwhile the league’s losing finalists Old Georgians’ dominated the National Rugby League Select team, providing eight players in the all-star team while champions OH had five players.
Lion Lager National Rugby League chairman Nody Kanyangarara said the league’s awards banquet will be held at a local hotel on November 16.
NRL Select Team of the Year
1. Pieter Joubert (OGs), 2. Keith Murray (OGs), 3. Jakov Jakov (OGs), 4. Costa Dinha (OH), 5. Jonathan Goosen (OGs), 6. Farai Jijita (OGs), 7. Jacques Leitao (OGs), 8. Andrew Rose (OGs), 9. Phil Machisa (HSC), 10. Tichafara Makwanya (OH), 11. Kuda Chiwanza (OGs), 12. Simbarashe Chirimuuta (HSC), 13. Lungile Tshuma (OH), 14. Gardner Nechironga (OH), 15. Tangai Nemadire (OH).