Keas coach named national finalist

FINALIST: Keas coach Andrew Auimatagi will hope to win his second major award,  after winning coach of the year at the Canterbury Rugby League award in October.

Linwood Keas coach Andrew Auimatagi is one of three finalists for the domestic coach of the year at the New Zealand Rugby League Awards.

The award ceremony will take place in Auckland on January 20, with Auimatagi going up against Papakura Sea Eagles coach Richie Blackmore and Counties Manukau Stingrays, New Zealand Residents and Southern Cross Campus coach Rod Ratu.

Auimatagi coached the Keas to the Massetti Cup minor premiership and then the Pat Smith Trophy in the Canterbury club grand-final.

He then led the Canterbury Bulls to a third place finish in the New Zealand Premiership, narrowly missing out on a final’s berth on points differential.

The former Keas player was also the assistant coach of the New Zealand Residents team that defeated the New Zealand Maori 30-10.

In October Auimatagi was the winner of the coach of the year award at the Canterbury Rugby League awards.

Jordan Riki who won this year’s under-18 Canterbury club competition with the Halswell Hornets/Hornby Panthers team is also a finalist for the 16’s domestic player of the year.