It’s time to get voting for the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season! Here’s the On Top Of The Moon guide to the seven players nominated for the award:
Simone Favaro – “Il Pazzo”
Key stat – 9.7 tackles per game
There isn’t really a stat that truly captures Simone’s bonkers brilliance. There’s no argument that what he does best is tackle but the numbers themselves don’t tell the story of how he flies out of the line and nails his opponent with a reckless disregard for his own safety! He demonstrated his commitment to the cause when he asked not to be considered for Italy’s Six Nations games in order to get himself 100% fit and repay the faith shown in him by Gregor Townsend and the Warriors.
Leone Nakarawa – “The Workhorse”
Key stat – 270 carries
It may be Leone’s offloading abilities that garner the attention – and the undying man-love of a certain commentator on Sky – but the feature of his game that has really benefited Glasgow this season is the sheer amount of work he gets through – including 66 more carries than any other Warrior. The big Fijiweegie took it to another level during the Six Nations, averaging 16.1 carries per 80 minutes as he helped guide inexperienced sides through some challenging fixtures. (And contrary to popular opinion he doesn’t throw offloads every time he has the ball – just once every five carries!)
Ryan Wilson – “The All-rounder”
Key stats – 10.6 carries per game & 10.0 tackles per game
One of that rare breed who manages to make double digits for carrying and tackling, Ryan’s strengths lie in an exhausting work rate and a strong all-round skillset. After a slowish start on his return to the squad he’s returned to top form and really taken a grip on things (although thankfully not Lee Dickson’s family jewels) in the second half of the season. Arguably his best performances – Ulster (H), Scarlets (A) – have come at 7 where his physicality has helped Glasgow to dominate the breakdown.
Rob Harley – “The Iron Man”
Key stat – 1,438 minutes
Nobody has played more minutes than Rob – which is fairly remarkable when you consider that his dark arts take him into physical confrontation after physical confrontation in every game he plays. A mangled thumb did take him out of the reckoning right in the middle of the season, at which point Glasgow went on a four game losing streak – coincidence?!? His tireless commitment to the unglamourous grunt work may not make the highlight reels but is an essential component of the club’s success.
Stuart Hogg – “The Token Back”
Key stat – 7.2 metres per carry
This has been an “annus mirabilis” for Stuart as he’s grown into the player most Warriors’ fans dreamed he might when he first set foot on the Firhill pitch as a raw 18 year old. Only human wrecking ball Taqele Naiyaravoro makes more metres per carry than Hoggy. He can do it all but what most people love to see is when he’s attacking players with the ball in both hands – and the terrified look on the faces of the defence! Also worth mentioning the step up in the quality of his goal-kicking – as Ulster found out to their cost…
Jonny Gray – “The Machine”
Key stat – 97.4% tackle completion
At times Jonny’s tackle stats just don’t appear human. Through January to April, taking in four of Scotland’s Six Nations games and some of Glasgow’s biggest fixtures of the season, he had a run of 9 games without missing a single tackle – 111 in a row. His captaincy has also been increasingly influential, never more so than when leading from the front as the Warriors came back from a 17-9 deficit to deny Ulster even a losing bonus point at Scotstoun.
Sila Puafisi – “The Rock”
Key stat – selected for 21 consecutive matchday squads
In the era of Toony Tombola it takes a special kind of consistency to be in the 23 week in week out for 6 months and Sila has been solidity personified since he made his debut for the club against the Ospreys. His main role has been to anchor the scrum – and he has been a key factor in the improvements made there throughout the season. He also contributes outwith the setpiece and likes a rumble with ball in hand – hopefully for next season Gordy Reid can teach him the Scotstoun Express!