Former Papanui Tigers prop Seth Tauamiti is a finalist in the domestic 18s player of the year at the New Zealand Rugby League awards.
Tauamiti, who now lives in Auckland after signing with the Warriors, had a standout year in the 13-man code making the New Zealand Schoolboys side against the Australian Schoolboys last year.
He was also selected for the Canterbury Bulls, played in the premier Tigers squad, and was a key part of the St Thomas’ school rugby and league sides.
The other domestic 18s finalists are Steven Marsters, St George Illawarra; Tyler Slade, Warriors, and Jonathan Aumua Falelua-Malio, Akarana.
His training has been on hold for the past few weeks as he recovers from a niggling leg injury and infection.
Tauamiti told Nor’West News the first he knew about the nomination was after he scrolled through Facebook, saw the nomination and then his name on the list.
“I was speechless for about 5min. Then I quickly told my parents and they were gobsmacked,” he said.
“I am so humbled and grateful for the nomination.”
Reflecting on the year that saw him nominated, Tauamiti said it was a tough yet rewarding road.
“I knew I had to make a point out there on the field. There was tough competition, I was up against. I knew when I trained, I had to put my head down and it has paid off,” he said.
He is currently living with his former St Thomas’ teammate Patrick Elia in Auckland,
who was also signed by the Warriors.
“It was good to move up together and he is doing really well in the environment – we both are,” he said.
The finalists have been selected in all 12 NZRL awards categories, with the winners to be announced at a function in Auckland on Saturday.
Other Canterbury finalists include St Thomas’ and Hornby Panthers Caius Fa’atili, 16s, Panthers’ volunteers Willy Simon and Jack Newson, Linwood Keas volunteer Jasmine Tuli and referee Jason Wilson.