Well, it was the regular season ending round none of us saw coming, but all of us were glued to.
Upset after upset, underdog after underdog going close to even more shock results in Super Rugby Pacific.
It was a crazy end to a fantastic inaugural season of the competition.
Thusly, it’s time to throw out some awards.
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GAME OF THE YEAR
Couple of really good options here, remembering these all earned ‘full game replay’ status from Andrew Mehrtens on Between Two Posts.
You can do that on Stan Sport.
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Winner: Blues vs. Hurricanes (round two)
It was the last blemish on the Blues’ season record but it took some Hurricanes freakishness to get the result.
Played in front of an empty stadium in Dunedin, it was left to commentators Tony Johnson and Justin Marshall to bring the ruckus.
Great call, great game.
Drua’s fierce Na Bole challenge
Runner-up: Chiefs vs. Drua (round 15)
Our latest and near greatest entry.
Played in front of the most electric crowd ever seen in Super Rugby, the Drua went within two points of stunning the Chiefs.
Trademark outrageous tries from the home team, sideline hype work – this one’s a beauty.
Danny Toala’s stunning match-winner
UPSET OF THE SEASON
Winner: Moana Pasifika
To take the subjectivity out of deciding the winner of this award, I’ve gone with the bookies’ odds for both.
Moana Pasifika’s victory against the Hurricanes in a Friday thriller takes the winner’s trophy here by the barest of margins.
In one of the crazier finishes to a game this year, Danny Toala went away late to score an improbable win and in the process land their first ever Super Rugby W.
The Waratahs’ brilliant, all-the-way win against the Crusaders at Leichhardt Oval was the result that got everyone believing in the code in NSW again.
If you’re wondering what the combined odds of those two games going that way were, well, 243-1 is the answer.
ROOKIE OF 2022
We’ve got the MVP to come after the final, but we can wrap the rookie now.
To qualify, the player can’t have played a single minute of Super Rugby before 2022.
Drua speedster torches the Reds
Winner: Vinaya Habosi (Drua)
Some call him ‘Vinaya the Flyer,’ I’ve gone with ‘Big Boss Man’.
Whichever way you roll, he has been the undeniable breakout star of 2022.
His rise to rookie of the year is well documented after he was told by doctors he’d be lucky to play again after a horrific blood infection saw him lose 25kg.
Habosi put it beyond doubt with his hand in a 100-meter try at the weekend.
Runner-up: Timoci Tavatavanawai (Moana)
The giant winger had beaten more tacklers than any player in the competition heading into round 14.
Every single time he touched the ball you held your breath, knowing someone was going to get skittled or run by.
I don’t know who’s doing the contracting at Moana but I hope TT is locked in for a few years. Could be anything.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Last year was statistically the worst season in NSW history.
They didn’t win a single game. Nobody watched them in stadium or out, there was chat of disharmony at the club from those who’d already left. It was as grim as it gets.
Not now. Pre-season they’d targeted two to three wins, said they’d be happy with that. Well, they’ve gone and exceeded their own expectations by some distance.
Not only have they made the finals, players who were below where they wanted to be previously, have excelled.
The broader rugby public in the state are also on board again, it’s good to be a fan once more. It might end this weekend, but even if it does, they’ve done themselves proud.
Sullivan nails game winner for Blues
With Zarn Sullivan’s late heroics on Saturday, the Blues had a club record 13th straight win.
They have thrilled and billed themselves as THE team to watch across that run as well, playing a lightning fast game which sees their supercharged backs do some amazing things.
They’re rightful tournament favorites and will go into the final high on confidence.
Australia’s dramatic London Sevens win
The Aussie men’s sevens side overcame a first-up pool loss to New Zealand, going on to defeat their rivals in the final of the London Sevens.
Henry Paterson was the hero in extra time, it’s a bonkers final play too.
Coach John Manenti has done a terrific job with the squad, who only have a handful of full-time players.
The win was the Aussies’ first title in the UK since 2010 and they are now a real chance of claiming the entire series when it wraps up in August.
See you tonight on Between Two Posts with Mehrts and Aussie sevens world champ Dom Du Toit.
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