Major Vulcans accolade for Lousi
Thursday 16 August 2012 2:23 PM
Vodafone Warriors forward Sam Lousi was named the Auckland Vulcans’ Player of the Year at the Auckland Rugby League’s annual awards dinner at Mount Smart Stadium last night.
The 21-year-old man mountain has missed just one of the Vulcans’ New South Wales Cup games this season, and then only because he was on NRL duty in Townsville last weekend.
A two-time NYC premiership winner with the Vodafone Junior Warriors in 2010 and 2011, Lousi was upgraded to the club’s fulltime NRL squad this season.
One of the biggest men in the game at 1.98m and 117kg, the youngest of the Vodafone Warriors’ Lousi brothers played in the club’s trials against Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in February before beginning the season proper with the Vulcans.
Scoring six tries and always threatening with his offloading skills, Lousi consistently impressed for the Vulcans until he earned his NRL debut, albeit in the unlikeliest circumstances.
It came on July 21 when he was 18th man for the Vodafone Warriors’ clash against Newcastle. He had played 60 minutes for the Vulcans earlier in the afternoon and was just finishing his duties in the warm-up when Steve Rapira pulled up with a hamstring strain. Suddenly, just minutes from kick-off, Lousi was told he’d be making his NRL debut as Vodafone Warrior No 175.
He came on late in the match and was also used a week later from the bench against Manly in Perth (when the Vulcans had a bye). He returned to the NSW Cup the following week but was in Townsville as 18th man for the Vodafone Warriors last weekend.
Former Vodafone Junior Warriors prop Daniel Palavi, older brother of current NYC captain John Palavi, was named the runner-up to Lousi for the Vulcans’ major award.
Several other players contracted to the Vodafone Warriors featured among award winners last night including Otahuhu’s Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Glenora’s Kouma Samson, who have both played at NYC level this year. Other contracted players honoured were Glenora’s Esera Esera, Papakura’s Honeti Tuha, Marist’s Alamoti Finau and Northcote’s Kurt Robinson.
Mount Albert’s Ralph Ah Van was named the Appliance Shed Fox Memorial Lion Red Player of the Year. He’s the older brother of 54-game ex-Vodafone Warrior Patrick Ah Van (now with Widnes in the English Super League) and former Vodafone Junior Warrior Thomas Ah Van.
A highlight of the dinner was an interview with veteran Vodafone Warriors loose forward Micheal Luck, who retires at the end of the season. He made his 147th NRL appearance for the club last weekend (the 223rd of his career) and is on track to sign off with his 150th in his final game on September 2.
Among the dignitaries was the Governor-General, His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mataparae.
For all awards winners and more about the ARL awards dinner go to this link: