Congratulations to Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair Rugby League, who were named Team of the Year at the International Wheelchair Rugby League Awards.
The team were recognised after winning the Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup in August for the first team in team history, before narrowly losing the Super League Grand Final to Halifax.
On an evening of celebration at Emerald Headingley, England captain Jack Brown made history when he was named the first winner of International Rugby League’s (IRL) Golden Boot for Wheelchair Rugby League.
Brown, 29, has been a stalwart of the England Wheelchair team since playing In their first International In 2005 – having taken up the game because of the unique opportunity It provided to play alongside his disabled younger brother, Harry.
Like the established equivalents for Men’s and Women’s Rugby League, the Golden Boot is awarded to the player adjudged to have been the best in international matches throughout 2019 – and Brown led England to a 100% record on their ground-breaking five-match tour of Australia In the autumn, In addition to an historic victory In France earlier In the year.
Brown’s recognition means that International Rugby League’s three Golden Boots are held by players from three different nations – following the awards to New Zealand’s Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Australia’s Jessica Sergis before Christmas.
The first IRL Golden Boot for Wheelchair Rugby League was presented at a first dedicated awards night for the Wheelchair game, at which a number of domestic stars were also recognised – reflecting the geographic spread of the leading teams in the country.
Lewis King, who starred for the Kent-based Argonauts and also on England’s Ashes tour, was named Player of the Year.
Rob Hawkins, an 18-year-old whose contribution to Halifax’s Grand Final triumph earned him an England debut In the autumn, was named Young Player of the Year.
Mike Swainger and Steve Sampher shared a special Chair’s Award from Martin Coyd OBE, for their contribution to the development of the Wheelchair game in 2019 – at Hull In Swainger’s case, and with Leeds Rhinos for Sampher.
Matt Ball of Leigh was named Match Official of the Year, and there were two awards for the North Wales Crusaders – Steve Jones was named Coach of the Year, and they were also recognised as Club of the Year.
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