She was the last player to sign on for the Sharks ahead of the 2023 season but was arguably the most significant addition to the squad for what was Cronulla’s inaugural season in the NRLW competition.
A player with vast experience and an impressive resume, Tiana Penitani was the last piece to coach Tony Herman’s ‘puzzle’, with the hard running outside back rewarded for an outstanding first season in Cronulla colours at the NRLW level by being named the Sharks Player of the Year.
The first Sharks captain, Penitani edged out the likes of boom youngster Annessa Biddle and star five eighth Emma Tonegato in taking out the major NRLW award.
Playing all eight games this year, Penitani’s currently leads the Sharks in run metres with 1330, that total with just one game remaining in their season, ranking her sixth amongst all players across the 10 NRLW teams.
Her 136 runs on the year to date equating to an average of 17 carries per game in what represents a consistently high work rate for an outside back.
In her debut season at an NRL level Biddle also caught the eye and earnt the respect of her coaches, teammates and many across the women’s game, with the strong running Kiwi centre/winger winning both the NRLW Players Player and the NRLW Rookie of the Year awards.
Jada Taylor, the Club’s nominee for the NRL’s Veronica White – Women of the Year medal, was singled out as the NRLW Sharks Have Heart Community Award winner, while Andie Robinson was named the NRLW Education Excellence Award winner. Robinson is currently completing a Communications and Media degree at Wollongong University.
The NRLW awards were presented at the Porter Gallen Medal Night, held at Doltone House in Sylvania on Thursday.
Porter-Gallen Medal Night Award Winners
NRLW Player of the Year
NRLW Players Player
NRLW Rookie of the Year
NRLW Education Excellence Award
Sharks Have Heart Community Award
NRLW – Jada Taylor