Sam Halofaki Makes Master Mariner
Sam Halofaki’s teammates have recognised his contribution to the Mariners cause this year with the award of the Mike Connolly Trophy. In only its second year the Mike Connolly award is presented to the player who has made the most impact throughout the season and is named after former Mariner coach and Heart of Oak inductee, Mike Connolly.
As a former backrow forward Mike’s view of Sam would have been “he’s a target” and if I can’t get to him in the open spaces then perhaps he needs slowing up if I can catch him at the bottom of a ruck or two. As a coach he would appreciate the free flowing, counter attacking style of play that Halofaki has brought to the Mariners this season and also the evident joy with which he plays his rugby.
A number of clean breaks and a try against Devonport Services, early in the season at Keyham, showed all who were there that Sam was in good form for the Inter Service campaign. With many of the games being staged on artificial surfaces and the Mariners looking to play an expansive game Sam Halofaki was in his element. An elusive runner in broken play the quicker surface gave him plenty of opportunity to get the ball in his hands and run at the opposition.
Though Havant managed to coral him, to an extent, against the RAF he played a full part in the opening play that shredded the Air Forces defence. On more than one occasion, RAF Vultures were left in his wake as he stepped and accelerated away from their despairing clutches. Having received his award on the eve of Army Navy Day Sam would have had strong hope of finishing the season on another high but unfortunately there were few opportunities in a match against the Army Masters where unforced errors by the team left the wingers with limited chances to shine. Still the game should not detract from a personally excellent season from Sam Halofaki.
Last season’s inaugural Mike Connolly Award winner was Wilf Rees. Sam becomes the second recipient of the trophy.
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones & © Lee Crabb