RUGBYMag.com's Domestic Player of the Year is a difficult one for the staff to give, because often the top domestic player moves on to a professional rugby post during such a great year.
It isn't always about being the best player on the best team, although players such as Kris Headlee of Life, Volney Rouse and Mose Timoteo of SFGG, and Jeff Reuther at New Orleans all could be named to this award. Instead, though, we at RUGBYMag have named Graham Harriman. The former Chicago Griffin and now Metropolis lock forward gets the nod in part because he has been a big part of those clubs this year.
But in addition, Harriman has been a symbol of a player who gets the most out of his talent. Like many domestic American players, he works, and goes to training, and plays hard every week. But he also works ever harder, helping his teammates, and setting an example for others.
Harriman was asked to step forward and take on an important role this year, both in the ARC and later with the USA's November games, when he filled in for Scott LaValla at late notice against the Maori All Blacks. He played extremely well in that game, and continued his form in the following games, showcasing a high work rate, and a desire to just get the job done.
We profiled Harriman in November and here's a link to that profile. After we wrote that, he kept on going, and deserves to be, as an example to all players who hope to wear an Eagle on their chest, RUGBYMag's Domestic Player of the Year.