Jason Taumalolo, along with New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris, is one of three finalists for the award of Kiwis Player of the Year.
Taumalolo should be favoured to win, as his name has been connected to a potential code hop to the NFL, the ultimate goal of all rugby players, judging by recent events.
Another reason for tipping Taumalolo is that he has already been declared the premier forward in the NRL for the season just completed, earning him a share of the Dally M medal.
If anything could hold him back, it would be the failure of the North Queensland Cowboys to secure consecutive NRL premierships and failing to make it to this year’s NRL Grand Final through a loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
The competition betwixt Taumalolo, Bromwich and Harris for POY honours is likely to be close and hotly debated, as Bromwich took the award last year and if anything, played even better in 2016, as well as taking the captaincy for the All Blacks in six Tests over the past 12 months and winning the Dally M for Prop of the Year this year.
The case for Harris is that his outstanding season saw him display astounding versatility by playing centre, five-eighth and second row.