Players from Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Rugby League team got together for their annual End of Season Awards night on Saturday, with four worthy winners taking home awards for their contributions during the 2021 season.
Coaches’ Player of the Year – Tommy Pouncey
Rhinos loose forward and Vice Captain, Tommy Pouncey was one of the standout figures of the 2021 season, with a string of impressive performances down the stretch leading to his selection in the inaugural Yorkshire PDRL Origin side last summer.
With 3 tries and several Man of the Match awards collected during the campaign, Pouncey was awarded Player of the Year by the Rhinos’ first-year coaching team of Keiran Hickman and Neil Barnaby, plus Player-Coach Dan Roberts.
Players’ Player of the Year – Nick Horner
The forward typifies the spirit of the Rhinos, constantly giving his all and never taking a step backwards on the field.
In his first full season with the side, Horner became a mainstay in the starting pack and would be almost certainly at the top of the stats lists for metres gained and tackles made, showing his importance to the team in both attack and defence. He also grabbed his first try in Blue and Amber away to Warrington, winning over his teammates with his positive attitude and determination to help others develop wherever possible.
Most Improved Player of the Year – James King
A hugely deserving winner, King even became a viral sensation when he became the first ever blind rugby league player to make a conversion in a competitive fixture, with the videos and images shared thousands of times online and even making the national press!
Having completely transformed his physical and mental health after taking up PDRL with the Rhinos, King has made noticeable improvements in his rugby throughout the past 18 months and despite his condition has found a way to adapt to enable him to be part of a sport he has always dreamt of playing. His growth in confidence has been clear to see and he is now playing PDRL at an extremely high level, making contributions on both sides of the ball.
Top Try Scorer – Chris Young
With 8 tries in 9 appearances, the winger continued to show why he is regarded as one of the best players in PDRL by topping the side’s try scoring charts for the second time in three seasons at the Rhinos. Despite switching sides earlier in the season, Young continued to shine and finished the season in style with a superb hat trick at PDRL Finals Day against Warrington ‘Wire’.
We are now searching for new players who would like to join the Leeds Rhinos Physical Disability Rugby League team next year. The side will be taking part in Touch and Pass sessions every Monday evening from 6-7:30pm at Leeds Rugby Academy in Kirkstall until their regular training resumes in January, with newcomers always welcome to attend.
If you are interested in playing Physical Disability Rugby League, please contact Team Manager Ben Berry on firstname.lastname@example.org.