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Dean Hawkins caps off year to remember

South Sydney halfback Dean Hawkins has capped off a year to remember after being awarded the Rabbitohs The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup Player of the Year for 2021.

Hawkins featured in eight games of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup this year and finished with 48 points, five try assists, five linebreak assists and an average of 249.6 kicking metres per game.

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It was a tough year for the club after they finished in 11th place, only winning two games before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawkins managed to still stand out and was rewarded for his performances with an NRL debut in Round 5 against the Brisbane Broncos.

The Rabbitohs made easy work of the Broncos, but it was Hawkins’ post-match celebrations that grabbed the headlines. While celebrating with his friends in the crowd, the overzealous debutant suffered a nasty laceration to his lower leg that later required 15 stitches.

Hawkins eventually returned two weeks later in NSW Cup as the Rabbitohs defeated the Raiders 26-22.

The Matraville Tigers junior would go on to play a further two NRL games in 2021, and there’s plenty of opportunities to add to his tally with the recent departure of halfback Adam Reynolds. While they are big shoes to fill, the number seven jersey has three capable candidates in Hawkins, Blake Taaffe or Lachlan Illias.