The standouts of the season will be announced at the Wanganui Rugby Football Union's own Oscars on Saturday night, as the 2018 Rugby Awards are held at The Barracks sports bar and function centre.

The guest speaker will be All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones, veteran of 55 tests and 1987 Rugby World Cup winner.

It is the third year the WRFU have held their own awards, which sees a list of nominees chosen from the Tasman Tanning Premier and Senior competitions, as well as prizes for the top club coach and volunteer.

In addition, the representative coaches will announce their top players from the Wanganui teams which played in the post-season, which included a record five adult squads in the Wanganui Under 20's, Wanganui Toyota Development XV, Whanganui Maori, Wanganui Samoans and the Steelform Wanganui Heartland side.


Some of the representative coaches, which is from Under 16 up to adult, including the Under 18 Girls team, will just announce a Player of the Year, while five of the nine will also announce a Team Member of the Year recipient.

Other awards to be presented include School Leaver of the Year, Emerging Referee of the Year and Referee of the Year.

As well as player prizes, for the best clubs there will be the Incentive Award, the Best and Fairest and the presentation of the Weekes Cup, which is the best overall club when combining the results of their teams in both the Senior and Premier competition.

The Marist club knew they had retained the Weekes Cup in the week before the club rugby semifinals, with Marist Celtic top qualifier in the Senior competition while Dave Hoskin Carrier's Marist ultimately finished fifth on the table at the end of the Premier round robin.

This event will christen the new Barracks, which is in the old Wanganui RSA building on Hill St, as the guests will have dinner in one of the front dining areas before moving to the back bar for the awards ceremony.

The Premier club player awards cover the qualifying period of November 1, 2017 to October 31, 2018.

They are chosen on rugby performance as defined by the judging panel, but may also take into consideration other factors like disciplinary record and off-field contributions to their club.

There are seperate nomination categories for Best Back and Best Forward, as well as the Player of the Year.

In the latter category for Premier, only Settler's Honey Ngamatapouri do not have a nominated player as the other seven clubs have put someone forward.

Waverley Harvesting Border lock Jack Hodges had a strong campaign a lock, culminating with finally breaking through into the Wanganui Heartland team this season, while veteran ultility back Ace Malo held his young and injury-depleted Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau side together.

Marist's Josaia Bogileka was a handful out wide in 2018, ultimately being rewarded with a spot in the New Zealand Marist XV at the end of the year, while Black Bull Liquor Pirates captain Lasa Ulukuta was like Atlas carrying his team, especially after the departure of several Samoa-based players

Flanker Jamie Hughes was in outstanding form during McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu's march to back-to-back Premier championships, while Taihape lock Peter Travis Hay-Horton was part of the talented group of young forwards who brought Byford's Readimix Taihape back to the semifinals and won the Grand Hotel Challenge Shield.

Week in and week out, despite playing in the wooden spoon side, Harvey Round Motors Ratana prop Shade Tuaine-Whanau was one of 2018's most consistent, which led to him being tied with Kaierau halfback Cameron Davies for the Grand Irish Bar Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

In the Volunteer of the Year category, the criteria is for anyone who has contributed to rugby, including but limited to committee members, administrators, coaches or managers.

Nominees will display the qualities of positivity, inclusiveness, encouragement, vision, empathy and passion.

All of them will receive a framed certificate, a thank you card, wine bottle and voucher, while remaining together on stage while the winner is announced

The nominees are

Best Senior Club Forward: Liam Stevenson (Kaierau); Regan Collier (Marist Celtic); Dante Rooney (Taihape); George Gardner (Hunterville).

Best Senior Club Back: Liam Cox (Kaierau); Michael Flood (Marist Celtic); Jake Lockett (Marist Buffalos); Aaron Chapman (Taihape); Peter Duxfield (Hunterville).

Senior Club Player of the Year: Joel Martin (Kaierau); Eru Milner-Skudder (Marist Celtic); Matt Davis (Pirates); Jonty Curtis (Ruapehu); Karl Cane (Taihape); George Gardner (Hunterville).

Best Premier Club Forward: Josh Lane (Kaierau); Sam Madams (Marist); Raymond Epati (Pirates); Gabriel Hakaraia (Ruapehu); Wiremu Cotrell (Taihape).

Best Premier Club Back: Harry Symes (Border); Shandon Scott (Kaierau); Cameron Crowley (Marist); Jaye Flaws (Taihape).

Premier Club Player of the Year: Jack Hodges (Border); Aselamo Malo (Kaierau); Josaia Bogileka (Marist); Lasa Ulukuta (Pirates); Jamie Hughes (Ruapehu); Peter Travis Hay Horton (Taihape); Shade Tuaine-Whanau (Ratana).

Club Coach of the Year: Neil Forlong (Kaierau); Jason Hamlin (Marist); Carey Alabaster (Ruapehu).

Volunteer of the Year: Karley Amon (Border); Cheryll Campbell (Counties); Liam Graham (Kaierau); Amber McKee (Marist); Bryce Cosford (Pirates); Mark Green (Ruapehu); Ed Lawton (Taihape); Elysia McKay (Hunterville).