Utah Warriors Mikey Te'o Receives MLR Player of the Year Award
To kick off Major League Rugby's end of season awards is the Player of the Year award, with Utah Warriors full-back Mike Te'o. The 2021 voting committee is made up of MLR media, referees, and stats specialists.
Mikey Te'o | By Davey Wilson
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MIKE TE'O, UTAH WARRIORS
Claiming the 2021 Player of the Year award is Utah Warriors' Mike Te'o. Making 16 appearances for Shawn Pittman's team this season, the 28-year-old was a leading light as the Warriors reached the playoffs for just the second time in their history.
Having enjoyed three seasons in his native California with the San Diego Legion, Te'o was announced as a Utah player in November of 2020. Joining fellow USA Eagles Olive Kilifi and Paul Mullen in making the move to Zions Bank Stadium, only Jurie van Vuuren spent more minutes on the field than the full-back.
Unsurprisingly, it was in attack that Te'o made the most impact for Utah. Scoring nine tries over the duration of the season, he carried the ball more than anyone else on the roster, careering down the field on 173 occasions, a league leading amount, making 1566 metres, another league high, and traveling into contact 142 times.
Mikey Te'o | Utah Warriors vs LA Giltinis | By Davey Wilson
Breaking 50 tackles, making 10 line breaks, 19 offloads and completing 131 passes, Te'o was a catalyst behind many Warriors attacks, driving his team forward at every opportunity that presented itself. It was this attacking flair and desire to always be on the front foot that saw Te'o called up to the Eagles once more by Gary Gold.
He was joined by club teammates Mullen, Michael Baska, Calvin Whiting and Mika Kruse in England and Ireland, making two appearances on the tour before heading back to Utah in order to play the LA Giltinis, firstly to close out the regular season, and then in the Western Conference Final at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
His efforts haven't gone unnoticed by his teammates either, who voted one of their newest teammates as the Warriors' Player of the Year, a sure sign of a player who has made an impact to an environment and is getting the very most out of the players around him.
Even holding a community coaching position with the team, Te'o's love for rugby is nothing short of infectious. Whether it be the grin on his face following a line break or the celebrations with his teammates following a score, he has been a driving force for the Warriors this season and that can be seen by the performances of those around him, as well as how he himself flourished in black and red.
On Monday MLR announced the All-MLR First, Second and Honorable Mention teams, linked here. Additional end of season awards including Forward and Back of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year are to be announced by MLR throughout the week.
Written by Joe Harvey
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Major League Rugby Stories from August 10, 2021
- Utah Warriors Mikey Te'o Receives MLR Player of the Year Award - Utah Warriors
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