Junior stars: Ma'anamia and Best
After a big weekend of grand final glory, nib Newcastle Knights Under 16s forward Christian Ma’anamia then enjoyed a moment in the spotlight at the Club's junior presentation night.
Ma’anamia backed up a stellar season named as the man of the match in a thrilling grand final win against the Manly Sea Eagles on the weekend before taking out the Harold Matthews Player of the Year award on Monday night.
“I was very surprised on getting the award,” Ma’anamia smiled.
“Credit goes to all the boys, they put in an effort through pre-season, I’m just proud of all the boys I can now call brothers.”
The 15-year-old admits the Knights side are like family to him and have always welcomed him with open arms.
“I came from New Zealand as an individual not knowing anyone and after a couple of months in this camp with the boys and the Knights, I am proud to say I made some life-long brothers, so I am very proud,” commented Ma’anamia.
The grand final victory is a memory he’ll never forget.
“That is probably the highlight of my life,” said Ma’anamia.
“I will never be able to play Harold Matts again but I felt really good winning with the boys and I’m very proud of the win.
“We worked so hard in the pre-season and I’m stoked, I’m still trying to get over it.”
Not taking his foot off the peddle, Ma’anamia is set to continue his hard work on the field.
“I have still got club footy and school footy but I’ll put my head down, train hard and hopefully my results will show in the future.”
One of his teammates was also rewarded for his hard work and dedication throughout the Under 16s undefeated season.
Bradman Best scooped two awards on Monday night, going home with the Harold Matthews Players’ Player award and the Danny Buderus encouragement award.
“It is a privilege to win these awards, it’s an honour and I’m just happy and grateful,” said Best.
Best admits he’s still on a high after his side claimed the premiership honours.
“It is a memory that I’ll never forget and I will cherish that moment for life, the boys worked hard, we got the job done and it was well earned.”
The 15-year-old who moved from the forwards to fullback this season said he hopes to move to the Knights Under 18s side next season with aspirations of eventually playing first grade in years to come.
“That’s the goal, hopefully make the NRL just like Brock Lamb, he was sitting here a few years back and now he is playing NRL so hopefully just trying to be like them,” maintained Best.
Meanwhile Best has been one of seven in the junior Knights side selected in the NSW Under 16 squad to take on Queensland in an Origin 3 curtain raiser in July.
Other players include Harry Croker, captain Jaron Purcell, Max Buderus, Kobe Davies, Cooper Jenkins and Patrick Achurch.