Newsome Panthers celebrated at their end-of-season awards with some players picking up multiple prizes in what has been a stunning trophy-ladened campaign.
Joe Sanderson and Danny King picked up numerous awards on the night. The awards evening was held at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield.
Head coach Richie Hawkyard said: “The event was great and I was really pleased we got to celebrate yet another successful season at the club. These awards nights can be fantastic nights that pull everyone together. The players and people who won the awards deserve them.”
PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR – JOE SANDERSON
“Joe has come into the open age for his first season and smashed it,” said Hawkyard. “He had played hooker most of his career but in the very first game of the season he had to come on and play full-back.
“He did brilliantly and so has stayed at that position ever since. He has gone from strength to strength. He’s only a young lad and to come in and do so well in a vital position on the pitch is just outstanding.
“He has got a great attitude and we can see a bright future for him at the club for sure. He also picked up the Young Player of the Season award.”
YOU FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS MEDAL AWARD WINNER – DANNY KING
Hawkyard said: “Every game we get the opposition coach to vote who they think was our Man of the Match, then we – as Newsome coaches – have a vote and then the players get a vote each. At the end of the season all the votes are added up and that determines the winner.
“Danny has been a huge player for us this year. As well as picking up this award he has won the best player jointly at home with Luke Karolczuk and also won the best player away jointly with myself. So it just shows what a season he has had. He was also chosen as the best forward of the season too.
“Again, just like Joe, it’s his first season with us. Danny has played at pro level for a number of teams but we managed to get him here this season. His cousins have just scored a try each at the World Cup for Ireland – Toby and George King.
“He’s a big lad and a second-rower and so he’s had a great year and deserves the awards he’s won.”
COACHES’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR – DOM WAITES AND LUKE KAROLCZUK
Dom and Luke are joint winners and Hawkyard said: “Both lads are absolutely brilliant and I have known both for a long time. Luke is a guy that I gave his debut to at Slaithwaite at the age of 17 – he’s now 31.
“When I came to Newsome last year he was one of the very first people I called to try and get on board. He’s not the biggest but plays at prop. He runs and tackles anything that moves and he’s a leader on the pitch.
“As for Dom he used to run the water on the pitch at Slaithwaite so I’ve known him since he was a kid. He’s a top lad and this is his second season at open age.
“It doesn’t matter wherever I’ve played him, he’s done a job. He’s just getting better all the time and I think he can go further than just playing at Newsome.”
TOP TRY SCORER – RICHIE HAWKYARD AND FIN BALBACK
On this award Hawkyard said: “Me and Fin were drawing on tries scored before the Supplementary Cup Final and I scored two tries in that even though, technically, it was a second team game, though we didn’t treat it like that. So whilst I got the most tries by number we also gave the award to Fin too as he’s had a terrific season.”
Hawkyard said: “This award is given to that person who created an outstanding moment. Fin scored a last minute drop goal to beat Odsal that was a contender, Joe Sanderson’s debut was the other.
“However it had to be Elliot McGuire’s last gasp try against Ossett in the Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Trophy final for us to win it. What a moment that was when you look back!
“Elliot also won our Unsung Hero award. He had won it two years in a row. He turns in week in week out, he is like the club secretary too and does a hell of a lot of work behind the scenes so deserves that award as well.”
SUPPORTERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD – WESLEY MCGUIRE
On this award Hawkyard said: “Wesley only came to us halfway through the season and his first game was actually against Ossett in that Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Trophy final. He scored two tries in that fixture before Elliot went on to score the winner.
“He is a quality player and someone I’m pleased to have here. I think he would have picked up a few more awards if he’d been here all season.”
Below is a gallery of images from the awards night. The main image (above) was taken by: SEAN DOYLE