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Last weekend 2 South London Storm players we awarded the most prestigious award in Rugby League in South London, the George Nepia Awards.
George Nepia signed in the 1930?s for the Streatham and Mitcham Rugby league club after touring the British Isles with the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union side. He went on to be a stand out player for the Streatham and Mitcham side driving them to top half finishes in the mid 30?s.
He went on to be a staunch protestor against apartheid in South Africa and inequality in Rugby and across society.
South London Rugby strive for inequality in everything they do as clubs across South London include clubs in Croydon and Brixton and mixes races, colours and creeds. As George Nepia played his first Rugby League games in South London it seemed the sensible patron of this award and his family agreed when they were contacted 3 years ago for permission to use his name.
The Award is for the entire of South London Rugby league and can be player, coach, referee , administrators or fans who work in the area and can be affiliated to any club or organisation.
This year the two winners were both from South London Storm. The Junior winner has been with the Storm since he started playing Rugby League over the years he has proved to be a power in the forward pack and has been a livewire person to have around the squad. In the last few years he has grown massively as a young man and this year has not only stepped up magnificently to the Junior Academy at the London Broncos where he has won a number of Man of the Match awards but has proved to be a big influence to the other players in the side. He has also been coaching back where he began with the junior clubs in the South London area at the Croydon Hurricanes junior set up proving to be a popular and successful coach and a great positive influence to the youngsters who will hopefully come up to take his place in the Broncos and Storm.
The Senior award was given to Mark Nesbitt. Mark joined the club 5 years ago as a Hooker/scrum half and has been a hugely influential player in that role. As an ex Scotland Student international most knew he would help the club on the field but it is his influence off the field that has been a huge influence at the club and in the South of London as a whole. Mark Stepped up to fill a void as Chairman 3 years ago as Storm embarked on the newly formed National League 3 and over the coming years put in a lot of his own time at the expense of social time and work. At the same time Mark has set up his own company which has also supported both the Storm and RL in South London. Marks influence has also been used as chairman when setting up the feeder clubs to South London Storm the Croydon Hurricanes and Brixton Bulls. His Chairmanship and smooth hand over this year when business interests had to come first have facilitated the year the Storm have had and have influenced the set up of Junior RL in the South of the Capital for many years to come.
?We are immensely proud to have two people of their quality at the club? commented current chairman Paul Brown. ?Jude and Mark have been outstanding for the club in the past couple of years and neither looks like stopping now. Mark still plays and holds a huge amount of respect at the club and Jude has many fine years ahead of him although hopefully at Harlequins Rugby League for the next few years anyway. These are two awards they should be rightly proud to receive and the club are very proud to have them involved at Storm Park.?