Miles, Timu take top honors

Private Leah Miles was one of the major prize winners at the Otago awards last night.

The hard-working Otago Spirit flanker was named most valuable player for Spirit this season.

The side had a tremendous season in the Farah Palmer Cup Championship until it was upset 24-20 in the final by the Hawke’s Bay Tui.

But the New Zealand Army Reserve Force grunt was instrumental in getting the team to the final undefeated.

Her work around the field and improved ball-carrying ability was what got her the nod as most valuable player.

Hooker Tegan Hollows shared the forward of the year title with industrious blindside Zoe Whatarau.

Classy halfback Georgia Cormick was named back of the year – her slick work at the base of the scrum and accurate goal kicking was a huge asset for the Spirit, which will still be smarting from its loss to the Tui.

Center Cheyenne Cunningham was voted players’ player of the year and veteran lock Julia Gorinski got the Spirit award for the player who set the standard in her professionalism.

Otago center Josh Timu scooped a couple of major awards for his efforts in the National Provincial Championship.

He picked up the back of the year award as well as the most valuable player gong.

For a period he was the last fit midfielder standing and was left shouldering a big workload, which he flourished in.

He snagged a late try against Waikato to help keep Otago’s flagging – and ultimately doomed – playoffs prospects alive.

The forward of the year prize when to up-and-coming lock Fabian Holland – the big Dutchman had a breakout year.

His bulky frame is an asset in the scrum, he is a very easy target in the lineout, and his ball-carrying and handling improved with each match.

Holland was also chosen by the season ticket holders as the player of the year, while Timu was named players’ player of the year.

Cathy Charles was named volunteer of the year for her tireless work for Alhambra-Union.

Charles has been a key driver of women’s rugby both at club and representative level.

She was instrumental in Alhambra-Union fielding two women’s teams this season and helped coach both teams.

She was also a team liaison officer for visiting Farah Palmer Cup teams, and topped off a big year as the manager of the successful Otago under-18 girls team which won this year’s South Island tournament.

Otago FPC and NPC

Award winners

Otago Spirit Forward of the year: Zoe Whatarau and Tegan Hollows

Back of the year: Georgia Cormick

MVP: Leah Miles

Otago Forward of the year: Fabian Holland

Back of the year: Josh Timu

MVP: Josh Timu

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