14th December 2022 


As our communities returned to the field post two Covid-disrupted years, a full-strength domestic rugby league calendar saw some stand-out talent across the motu. NZRL is pleased to announce the 2022 Domestic Rugby League Award recipients.  


The Grassroots Club of the Year was highly contested in 2022. NZRL would like to recognise runner-up clubs; Ravens (Hukanui / College Old Boys) (Upper Central); Linwood Keas (South Island), He Tauaa Rugby League Club (South Island) and Dannevirke Tigers (Mid Central). All clubs achieved outstanding results regarding participation growth, sideline behaviour, volunteer upskilling and implementing Kiwi Way values across the game.  


The Porirua Vikings’ (Wellington) impressive on-field results and representation across all grades, coupled with the impact of their community programme,s has seen them awarded the 2022 Grassroots Club of the Year.  


The club was recognised in the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for outstanding volunteer service to their community. This included a community health day promoting COVID vaccinations and pandemic support and the implementation of an employment programme encouraging unemployed players to undertake education and training to assist with future job prospects.  


The 2022 Men’s and Women’s Domestic Player of the Year awards have gone to Tevin Arona (Auckland Vulcans) and Abigail Roache (Counties Manukau).  


Arona had an outstanding year leading the Vulcans to their promotion to the 2023 NZRL Premiership after a dominant Championship display. Arona was crowned Championship Final MVP and took home top try-scorer and goal-kicker for the 2022 tournament.  


Roache took home the ARL Cathy Friend Women’s Player of the Year before being called up to make her Test debut for the Kiwi Ferns at the Rugby League World Cup in England. She played an integral role at five-eighth guiding the Ferns to a finals appearance at Old Trafford.  


The 2022 18s Boy’s and Girl’s Player of Year awards have gone to Rodney Tuipolotu-Vea (Counties Manukau) and Alexis Tauaneai (Upper Central / Wellington). 


Tuipolotu-Vea played an integral role in De La Salle’s success story at the NZRL Secondary Schools Tournament, which he followed up with an impressive performance for the NZRL18s Boy’s Schools team.  


Tauaneai was crowned National 9s Tournament MVP, playing an integral role in the Orcas’ win. She then impressed at NZRL Youth Girl’s competition for Upper Central making the Girl’s 18s Club squad for 2022.  


Counties Manukau stars Augustino Filipo and Braxton Sorensen-McGee, have taken home the Boy’s and Girl’s 16s Player of the Year awards. 


Filipo captained the 16s Stingrays to a National Championship victory before making the Auckland Invitational representative squad. He’s described as “a natural born leader who always thinks of others and shows opponents respect on and off the field, win or lose.” 


Sorensen-McGee was voted MVP in the Auckland Secondary School final and played an integral role in Auckland Girls’ journey to the National Secondary School final. She was rewarded with a New Zealand Secondary School representative selection before impressing in Counties’ National 16s Girls Youth Tournament victory. 


The South Island region has produced the Coach, Manager and Trainer of the year for 2022.  


Archie Jacobs has been awarded 2022 Coach of the Year after coaching the South Island 20s, South Island Scorpions 18s Boys and the NZSS 18s Boys.  


Canterbury’s Lee Mou has taken home Trainer of the Year after working as head trainer for the Canterbury Bulls, the South Island 20s and the New Zealand 18s Boys Clubs side who were victorious against the NZSS side last month. 


Sabrina Manu has been awarded Manager of the Year after a busy 2022 managing the Canterbury Women’s side, South Island Scorpions 16s Girls, 16s Girls Aotearoa Whaanui Team and the Linwood Women’s side. 


Paki Parkinson has taken home Match Official of the Year for the third year running after being selected to officiate at the Rugby League World League Cup in England.  


Northland’s Gina Allan has been awarded Pirtek Volunteer of the Year for her dedication towards growing rangatahi and female participation in the Northland region. For more information on Gina’s story, click here. 


NZRL CEO Greg Peters says, “These awards recognise exceptional work in our domestic and community space both on and off the field.  


“Thank you to those in our rugby league communities who continue to go above and beyond for our game. It’s the dedication of our people that keeps rugby league thriving – thank you for another great year.” 




Grassroots Club of the Year – Porirua Vikings (Wellington) 


Men’s Domestic Player of the Year – Tevin Arona (Auckland Vulcans) 

Shortlist: Jamel Hunt (Counties Manukau); Jordan Campbell (South Island). 


Women’s Domestic Player of the Year – Abigail Roache (Counties Manukau) 

Shortlist: Kelly Maipi (Counties Manukau); Cassie Siataga (South Island); Jamie Tautari (Upper Central). 


18s Boys Player of the Year – Rodney Tuipolotu-Vea (Counties Manukau) 

Shortlist: Jordan Chapman (Wellington); Makaia Tafua (Wellington). 


18s Girls Player of the Year – Alexis Tauaneai (Upper Central / Wellington)  

Shortlist: Tamisha Tulua (Counties Manukau); Kyla Lynch-Brown (South Island); Kimoana Niupalau (Upper Central). 


16s Boys Player of the Year – Augustino Filipo (Counties Manukau)  

Shortlist: Joshua Totara Kopua (Counties Manukau); Mangaroa Mark (Waikato); Maui Winitana-Patelesio (Wellington); Ezekiel Faga-Ieti (South Island); Marley Igasan (Upper Central). 


16s Girls Player of the Year – Braxton Sorensen-McGee (Counties Manukau) 

Shortlist: Molly Byford (Upper Central); Trinity Tauaneai (Wellington); Anya Clark (South Island). 


Coach of the Year – Archie Jacobs (South Island) 

Shortlist: Andrew Palepale (Counties Manukau); Damian White (Upper Central); Ake Pereira (Wellington); Jed Lawrie (South Island); Steve Buckingham (Akarana). 


Trainer of the Year – Lee Mou (South Island)  

Shortlist: Nicole Liesching (Counties Manukau); George Smyth (Upper Central); Willie Vunipola (Mid Central). 


Manager of the Year – Sabrina Manu (South Island) 

Shortlist: Deborah Tupou (Counties Manukau); Cindy Petero (Upper Central). 


Match Official of the Year – Paki Parkinson (Upper Central) 

Shortlist: Marissa Puketapu (Wellington); Daniel Price (Mid Central); Jack Feavers (Southern Zone). 


Pirtek Volunteer of the Year – Gina Allan (Northland)