Highlanders announce 2023 Annual Award Winners

Highlanders announce 2023 Annual Award Winners

The Highlanders 2023 annual awards evening was held last night at the Toitū Museum.
The big winner on the night was team Captain Billy Harmon picking up three awards including the Pulse Energy Highlanders Most Valuable Player.
Harmon has consistently been one of the Highlanders’ best performers on the field and has led from the front in defence winning the Highlanders’ best Defender award and clearly also has the respect of his peers taking out the Speight’s Player’s Player award.
Other winners on the night were Back of the Year Sam Gilbert. Gilbert has been the backline rock having played fullback and second-five regularly this season, he has also been the best in the competition off the tee kicking at around 90%. Gilbert also received the Dunedin City Motors Fan’s Choice award for his consistent performances.
Highlanders’ U20 Player of the Year was Jack Taylor who had an outstanding tournament, culminating in his selection for the NZ U20 team, he also managed a cameo performance for the Highlanders against the Fijian Drua.
Forward of the year was tighthead prop Jermaine Ainsley who was a cornerstone of a very strong Highlander’s front row that included All Black, Ethan de Groot. Ainsley has been a tireless worker throughout the season having been involved in every game so far this year.
Rookie of the year was young loosie Nikora Broughton who in his first season at Super Rugby has shown enough to suggest that he has a bright future in the game.
Aaron Smith in his last year with the team was awarded the prestigious Highlander Man award. This award is bestowed to the person who best represents the values of the club and Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said Smith was deserving recipient.
“Aaron has given 13 years of loyal service to our club; his dedication and competitiveness are second to none and his name will forever be associated with the Highlanders”.
The event was attended by 250 guests including sponsors, members, players and partners.



Community Champ

Marty Banks

Dunedin City Motors Fan Player of the year

Sam Gilbert

Forward of the year

Jermaine Ainsley

Back of the year

Sam Gilbert

Defender of the year

Billy Harmon

Speights Player’s Player

Billy Harmon

U20s MVP

Jack Taylor 


Nikora Broughton

Pulse Energy Highlanders MVP

Billy Harmon

Highlander Man

Aaron Smith

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