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Wade McRae (Lincon University) Hawkins Medal Player of The Week
Photo - Ken Baker Photography
The battle for the Hawkins Medal has tightened up after the latest round of the Christchurch Metro Division One with three players sharing the lead and three others within three points.
Each week independent observers award three, two and one points to the best three players in each game to find the Hawkins Medal winner for the most valuable player of the season.
On Saturday, Lincoln University flanker Wade McRae moved within one point of the lead after being awarded two points.
The 20-year-old is now right behind leaders Richie Mo’unga and Billy Harman. Jarred Percival is still sharing the lead but a season-ending injury appears to have also ruined his chances to win the Hawkins Medal.
Lincoln University co-coach Dave Perrin says that McRae has had a superb season after missing much of his first year in the top team due to concussion.
“He has come back stronger and fitter and has been terrific at the breakdown. He has a naturally ability to clean out the ball and gets about three or four turnovers every game,” says Perrin, adding that his strong work ethic and surprising speed on the run make him an outstanding No.7.
The coach says that with New Brighton’s Billy Harmon, Marist’s Charlie Gamble and McRae, Canterbury is currently blessed with three wonderful young openside flankers that will give Canterbury coach Scott Robertson plenty of selection headaches. “Of course I’d love to see Wade in the team, but that’s not my call,” says Perrin.
McRae moved up north to study at Lincoln three years ago from Menzies College in Southland and according to Perrin there was plenty of debate whether he was best used at No.8 or on either flank.
“We even talked about using him as hooker because he seemed a bit small for a No.7,” laughs Perrin.
McRae had played in all loose trio positions as a junior so ended up slotting in on the openside because those stocks were running a bit low at Lincoln.
With his team already qualified for the semi-finals, Perrin may be forgiven for giving some of his regulars a rest in the last round robin game before the semi-finals, but he says that they will just keep going as they have.
“We’ve got a few players coming back and a few guys with new niggles so we just have to see how they all pull up at training before we decide who gets a run on Saturday.”
Hawkins Medal (MVP) leaders: Jarred Percival (HSOB), Billy Harmon (New Brighton), Richie Mo'unga (Linwood) 14, Wade McRae (LU) 13, Sam Godwin (University) 12, Ben Corston (Sumner) 11, Billy Guyton (Marist Albion), Caleb Makene (LU), Rowan O'Gorman (Marist Albion), Jason Merrett (Chch) 10, Ross Kennedy (Marist Albion), Tulolo Tulolo (New Brighton) 9, Stefan Moir (New Brighton), Josh Taylor (HSOB), Dylan Nel (Sumner), Frank Havea (Belfast) 8.
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