Rookie Forward Takes Out Silktails ‘Player of the Year’

Meli Nasua has been crowned the Kaiviti Silktails ‘Player of the Year’ for his consistent high-quality performances across the 2022 NSWRL Ron Massey Cup competition.

In a Dally-M Medal style of voting, points were awarded on a 3-2-1 basis to Silktails players across the 18-round competition.

Nasua, a 20-year-old forward who enjoyed his first season in RMC, polled in six of 15 games to take out the Tabu Soro Medal. He finished 11 votes ahead of half Rusiate Baletamavua (nine) and centre Paula Walisoliso, fullback Temesia Jilivecevece and winger Tutuvili Viliame (eight each).

It was one of two honours Nasua collected at the end-of-season awards held at Sydney’s Kirribilli Club on Friday 26 August.

He and winger-fullback Osea Natoga scored nine tries each to jointly win the ‘Try Scorer of the Year’ award. The pair were equal fourth overall on the Ron Massey Cup tries list for 2022.

A total of 10 awards were announced at the function hosted by Kaiviti Silktails Chairman Petero Civoniceva and Executive Director Stephen Driscoll.

The Fijian team has spent the past two years based in Sydney to play in the NSWRL competition because of the COVID-19 protocols hindering international travel. They are hoping to return to a regular home-and-away season in 2023.

Finishing with six wins and nine losses this year, the Silktails missed the finals by one win with their last game being a 26-all draw with Mounties scoring in the 78th minute, which secured them a top-five finals spot in the nine-team RMC.

Although disappointed at not making their first finals campaign, the Silktails overcame several hurdles throughout the year including season-ending injuries to key players and the unexpected death of their long-time Football Manager Jacquie Shannon in June.

“We were two minutes away from our first finals berth but in the scheme of things – having two seasons away from home – we feel like we achieved a lot,” Driscoll said.

“Particularly this year with the passing of Jacquie which rocked us all. We knew there’d be challenges along the way but losing her was not one we expected to face.

“But we completed the season with the youngest squad we’ve ever had to reflect the youth policy we want here at the Silktails – a developmental club to give young Fijian players a pathway into the Australian competitions.”

Eight players from the 30-member squad that arrived for pre-season training in January were over 23 years. That figure will drop to just three for 2023.

Several Silktails have played in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, Jersey Flegg and Sydney Shield in addition to Ron Massey Cup games.

A Silktail from the 2021 squad, Pio Seci, made his NRL debut playing for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in Round 21. Seci won the Recognition Award this year – presented with a Silktails blazer – which is now the tradition for any player who makes it to the NRL.

Silktails 2022 Awards

Tabu Soro Medallist (Player of the Year): Meli Nasua

Rising Star Award: Watisoni Waqanisaravi

Best Back: Viliame Tutuivili

Best Forward: Manasa Kalou

James Dack Medallist (Clubman of the Year): Sunia Naruma

Jacquie Shannon Medallist (Staff Member of the Year): Sai Ledua, the Physical Performance Manager

Kaiviti Silktails Sydney Shield Player of the Year: Iobe Taukeseilali (eight games)

Leading Try Scorer of the Year (Ron Massey Cup): Osea Natoga 9, Meli Nasau 9

Leading Point Scorer of the Year: Moji Qionimacawa, 104 points (overall third in Ron Massey Cup and one of only three players to break the 100-mark)

Recognition Award: Pio Seci (NRL debut)

The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.

The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup.