Winning a weekly MVP award in Hawke's Bay's premier club rugby competition on debut is a rare feat.
The fact Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports centre Graeme Tryon managed this feat in his first match of 15s rugby since 2011 made him the logical choice for the sixth weekly winner in the tussle to become the McDonald's-Hawke's Bay Today Club Rugby Player of the Year award. He produced a player-of-the-match display as his team recovered from a 12-3 halftime deficit to draw 20-all with the more fancied Progressive Meats Havelock North team in Saturday's Nash Cup fixture at Tamatea Park.
Spectators at the match would have been surprised to learn it was his first outing in the centre position too.
"First five-eighth was my main position during my two years playing for the Napier Boys' High School under-15 team and I played halfback in Hawke's Bay age group teams," Tryon, 23, recalled.
Ardent followers of Hawke's Bay sport may also have been surprised to hear Tryon, who captained the Havelock North premier men's cricket team during the summer, wasn't turning out for the villagers in the winter code.
"Andy Lord, who is coaching Pirates this year, coached me during my school days. I've got a couple of mates playing there and I also had little bit of sevens for them in the summer so it was an easy choice," Tryon explained.
A former Hawke's Bay under-16, Hawke's Bay Ross Shield and Napier Ross Shield rugby rep, Tryon, 23, admitted he was just "hoping for the best" when he trotted out in the No 13 jersey on Saturday.
"I enjoyed it but it was a big learning curve. If Hayden [former Magpie and Pirate co-captain Hann] wasn't injured I wouldn't have been playing there. But with Hayden out and Tyrone [Dodd-Edwards] also injured Pirates were short of midfielders at the weekend," Tryon recalled.
"I'm happy to play wherever Andy wants me to. After so long away from the game I'm really keen to get back into it. Pirates are getting better and better as a team with every game. It's important we keep building during the remainder of the Nash Cup so we are competitive in the Maddison Trophy," Tryon said.
An apprentice electrician with Mill Electrical, Tryon had three summers in the Hawke's Bay senior men's cricket team before taking a spell from rep play last summer.
"Work was keeping me busy and I was also keen to get into rugby again. Obviously if the chance came to play rep rugby again in the future I would jump at it but at the moment I'm just working hard to make the Pirate team consistently," he added.
His Pirate team can expect another close encounter when they take on the improving Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical side at Whitmore Park on Friday. Either side has the potential to win this encounter but don't expect a margin bigger than eight points.
In other seventh round Tui Nash Cup fixtures Auto Super Shoppe Hastings Rugby and Sports should beat Havelock North by at least seven points at Anderson Park, defending champions WIT Napier Old Boys Marist should beat MAC by 13 at Flaxmere Park, unbeaten leaders Taradale Rugby and Sports have the ammunition to beat Tremains Andrew Clark Clive by eight at Farndon Park and Northfuels Central should beat Tamatea by 15 at Waipukurau's Central Park.
Best & Fairest
Pirate v Havelock North: 3, Graeme Tryon (Pirate); 2, Trent Hape (Havelock); 1, Damien Scott (Pirate).
Tech v Tamatea: 3, Ted Walters (Tech); 2, Conan Houkamau (Tech); 1, Fred Jackson (Tamatea).
NOBM v Clive: 3, Sean Skeet (NOBM); 2, Saia Paese (NOBM); 1, Zac Southwick (Clive).
Hastings v MAC: 3, Neria Fomai (Hastings); 2, Willie Benson (MAC); 1, Danny Toala (Hastings).
Taradale v Central: 3, Toby Single (Taradale); 2, Cristobal Niedmann (Taradale); 1, Brad Truesdale (Taradale).
Leaderboard: 5pts: Jordan Kupa, Jacob Baker, Toby Single (all Taradale), Shamara Brooks, Neria Fomai (both Hastings), Liam Edwards, Matt Gardner (both NOBM), Jacob Stephenson (Havelock North), Elijah Martin (Tech), Pouri Rakete-Stones (Pirate), Tom Iosefo (MAC). 4pts: Saia Paese, Sean Skeet (both NOBM), Donovan Mataira, Zac Southwick (both Clive).