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The Tig prepares to pick a winner

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The polls are open, the people are exercising their democratic right to speak. Only this time there is no campaigning (unless nominees go on social media), no exit poll (unless voters go on social media) and there’s no no-deal.

Voting for the Tigers Supporter’ Awards is open, with the prizes being handed out during the week of the final game of the season.

We all hoped that we’d be placing votes as the Tigers prepared for the extended part of the season but – for any number of reasons which will be discussed and debated long into the summer – that is not the case. Regardless, The Tig is primed to place a vote.

It is perhaps unusual that three current England internationals are among the club’s shortlisted players of the season, given the amount of time they spend in national colours, but there is no doubt that Dan Cole, George Ford and Jonny May have played a big part for Tigers. All three would be coveted by other clubs and all three, too, demonstrate that most valuable and elusive of attributes – consistency. That they have all done so at the highest level for considerable time shows their true value.

The other nominee is Guy Thompson, a new favourite with the fans and among the few men in these parts who can get away with tying his hair up on the rugby field.

Guy is also nominated as best newcomer, as many of the Tigers Family predicted he would be when news of his signing from Wasps was announced last season, based purely on the number of times he had made telling contributions in games against Tigers.

David Denton, another with a distinctive hairstyle (The Tig would like to say ‘haircut’ but it is inappropriate here), could have been a contender after winning the first Player of the Month vote back in September, but he then missed the rest of the season as a result of concussion and Tigers missed out on utilising the physical presence his eye-catching arrival was designed to supply.

The fact that the Young Player shortlist is so hotly contested gives some idea of team selection this season. Where normally one or two youngsters are able to make an impression on a wider audience, a string of academy graduates have had to make big strides. Such has been his progress from Loughborough Students, that is hard to believe, too, that this is still Jake Kerr’s breakthrough year in senior rugby.

There are many deserving candidates of the Outstanding Service accolade in every season, mixing homegrown one-club men and others who have arrived early and developed into major players at Welford Road. You could also argue about adding Manu to the contenders now that he’s committed to another contract with the goal of playing a major part in achieving fresh success with the Tigers. Wouldn’t we all vote for exactly that right now.