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Billy Harmon (New Brighton) Hawkins Medal Player of The Week
Photo - Ken Baker Photography
Remember that name.
Far too often young talents are lumped with the tag of the being the next best thing, but according to New Brighton coach Steve Ellis, young flanker Billy Harmon has all the attributes to go right to the top.
Currently he sits in equal second place on the leaderboard of the Hawkins Medal for the most valuable player in the Christchurch Metro Division One.
Each week, independent observers award three, two and one points to the best three players in each game, and coach Ellis says that Harmon deserves the recognition as one of the most consistent players in the competition.
“I haven’t seen him play a bad game yet,” says Ellis. “Even on Saturday against Marist he was crook as a dog with the flu, but he was still phenomenal. We had planned to take him off early but he was having such a good game that we couldn't take him off.”
The 20-year-old talented surfer is a local New Brighton lad, and aside from a successful stint at St Bede’s, has grown up with the seasiders.
“And I don’t say this lightly, but Billy is probably the most talented player I have ever coached in 12 years,” admits coach Ellis.
Because of his obvious talents, there was a lot of pressure within the club last season to elevate the colt to the first team. “But because we already had outstanding loosies, and Billy probably still needed to do a bit of growing, we held him back last year. We used him once in the first team, and he immediately got man of the match.”
Ellis describes Harmon as a smart, big-hearted defender and strong runner with the ball, “who also has the X-factor”.
He says many young talents struggle in the must-win games heading into the semi-finals, “so it will be interesting to see how he handles the next three or four weeks”.
Harmon made national headlines in 2011 when the surfer accidentally triggered a full-scale rescue operation on a Dunedin beach, and Ellis is convinced his player will soon create more headlines on the rugby field.
The youngster is selected in the Canterbury training squad and Ellis would be surprised if he doesn’t make the final cut.
“There is nothing there to hold him back, so I am convinced he will be a Crusader within 24 months.”
Hawkins Medal (MVP) leaders: Jarred Percival (HSOB) 14, Sam Godwin (University), Billy Harmon (New Brighton) 12, Richie Mo'unga (Linwood), Wade McRae (LU), Ben Corston (Sumner) 11, Billy Guyton (Marist Albion), Caleb Makene (LU), Rowan O'Gorman (Marist Albion), Jason Merrett (Chch) 10.
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