It was an emotional Shaun Johnson who accepted the Porter-Gallen Medal on Friday night as Sharks Player of the Year, with the Kiwi five eighth a worthy winner after an outstanding 2020 season.
In taking out the first club player of the year accolade of his career, Johnson beat out a list a somewhat surprising list of nominees, players unheralded at the start of the season but who made a definite impression throughout the year.
See our highlights videos from the four nominees for the Porter-Gallen Medal and Sharks Player of the Year.
Nominee 1 - Siosifa Talakai
A newcomer to the Sharks line up in 2020, he created an immediate impression and never looked back after earning his place in the NRL side in round 4. Ran hard, tackled hard, he provided impact whether off the bench or as a member of the starting side. Season one in Sharks colours was outstanding for Siosifa Talkai, we can only look forward to what the future might hold.
Porter Gallen Medal Nominee 1 - Siosifa Talakai
Nominee 2 - Toby Rudolf
An NRL debutant in 2020, despite his lack of experience, he turned into one of the Sharks forward leaders with his fearless charges and high work rate. Not only a fan favourite, but with his energy and output at training and on game day, quickly became a favourite amongst his teammates and the coaching staff as well. Another who enjoyed success in his first season with plenty more to come for Toby Rudolf in 2021 and beyond.
Porter Gallen Medal Nominee 2 - Toby Rudolf
Nominee 3 - Shaun Johnson
One of the teams more experienced campaigners, his second season at the Sharks was undoubtedly his best. Led the NRL in the statistical category of try assists and was a constant threat with ball in hand, in finding the form that has him rated amongst the best attacking players in the game. Took on a leadership role in a young Sharks side, with his season-ending injury a significant set back late in the year. The eventual Porter-Gallen Medal winner, Shaun Johnson was a standout for the Sharks in 2020.
Porter Gallen Medal Nominee 3 - Shaun Johnson
Nominee 4 - Sione Katoa
Athletic and exciting, some of his exceptional try finishes, in using his own description, were certainly ‘sexy’. While recognised and acknowledged for his 16 tries, a tally that had him rated fourth on the NRL’s leading try scorers list, Sione Katoa’s hard work out of his team’s defensive end was also definitely noticed and appreciated by those in the inner sanctum during what was an outstanding year for the Sharks winger.
Porter Gallen Medal Nominee 4 - Sione Katoa