12th March 2015 – Fijian and Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo has been paid a double compliment by his peers – winning the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) 2014 Fijian Players Player of the Year Award and the overall Digicel Pacific Island Players Player of the Year Award.
The award caps off a standout year for the 27 year old who produced some scintillating performances for the Flying Fijians during a busy 2014.
He played in all 7 of the Flying Fijians test matches during the year, scoring 85 points which included 7 tries. The Crusaders and NEC winger showcased his consistency throughout the year to be judged the overall Pacific Island Players Player of the Year.
Nadolo was honoured to be recognised by his fellow players, “It’s a huge honour to receive such an amazing award as this. To be voted not only by my teammates but players from the other Pacific Island nations as players’ player is such a humbling feeling.”
“I want to thank the Lord for this award for without him I wouldn’t be here. Also I want to thank my team mates who helped me achieved such a prestigious award. Last but not least the players from the other nations that voted for me. Vinaka”.
Following the November test matches , Pacific Island Players voted for Players of the Year for Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji as well as voting for the overall ‘Pacific Players Player of the Year.’ The players selected Nadolo as the stand-out Fijian player, Samoan halfback Kahn Fotuali’i was awarded the Samoan Player of the Year award, and Tongan fullback Tevita Halaifonua as the Players Tongan Player of the year.
Consistently one of the top half backs in the World over the past few years, Kahn Fotualii was one of only 3 players alongside Jack Lam and David Lemi to play all of Samoa’s 2014 test matches. Upon receiving his award Fotuali’i said, “I am honoured to be named players player of the year amongst some talented players in the Manu Samoa team. To be recognised from my uso’s is a huge honour and pleasure”. It’s truly a blessing and a privilege playing for our country. Thank you all and God bless”
Tonga Fullback Tevita Halaifonua played in all 5 of Tonga’s 2014 test matches. He was delighted to receive the award and is looking forward to a big 2015 “Its an honour to be voted by my team mates for this award, I want to thank all my team mates and hope we can all win this award after 2015 RWC”.
Katie Taylor, Digicel Pacific Head of Marketing, congratulated the players and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to support PIPA and the Awards. “We are delighted to be associated with PIPA and endorse individual member’s achievements in 2014 through these awards. On behalf of Digicel I would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees. It can be no greater feeling than to be nominated for such awards by your playing peers and we wish all PIPA members all the best in their playing endeavours in 2015’’.
PIPA Chairman Deacon Manu paid tribute to the award winners, “there are few greater honours than to receive recognition from your peers for the hard work that goes into consistently performing on the international stage, on behalf of all the Pacific Island Players we congratulate Nemani, Kahn and Tevita for their outstanding contribution to pacific island rugby during 2014.”
Tongan International and PIPA board member Hale T Pole emphasized the importance for PIPA to recognise outstanding performances over a year, “all Pacific Island Players cherish every opportunity to represent their country. With these awards we hope to inspire players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to strive for excellence both on and off the field.”
To read the full article on the 2014 PIPA awards and to see some great interviews with players check out the March edition of the Pacific Island Players Association Magazine, ‘Underkava,’ here.
2014 Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Award Winners
Digicel Fijian Players Player of the Year – Nemani Nadolo
Digicel Tongan Players Player of the Year – Tevita Halaifonua
Digicel Samoan Players Player of the Year – Khan Fotualii
Digicel Pacific Island Players Player of the Year – Nemani Nadolo