Leeds Rhinos: It's time to cast your Shooting Star votes

Jack Walker.Jack Walker.
Jack Walker.
IT HAS been a tough season for Leeds Rhinos, but one positive is the emergence of young players who have proved they can shine at Super-League level.

One of those will be rewarded next month when he collects the Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star award for 2018 – and it is up to you to decide who that is.

The coveted Shooting Star prize goes to the young Rhinos player who has made the biggest impact over the course of the season.

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It began in 1998 and is one of the highlights of Rhinos’ annual black-tie presentation night, to be held this year at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Monday, September 24.

Taulima Tautai and Sam Powell stop Leeds' Mikolaj Oledzki.Taulima Tautai and Sam Powell stop Leeds' Mikolaj Oledzki.
Taulima Tautai and Sam Powell stop Leeds' Mikolaj Oledzki.

Each year the Yorkshire Evening Post asks readers to vote for their chosen player from a shortlist drawn up in conjunction with the club.

One reader – and guest – will be invited to the awards night to hand the prize to the Shooting Star.

To be nominated, players must be aged 24 or under at the start of the season and not have made a full international appearance for one of the recognised Test-playing nations.

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Previous winners of the award – claimed last year by Ashton Golding – have not been nominated.

Cameron Smith.Cameron Smith.
Cameron Smith.

The first nominee this year is prop Mikolaj Oledzki. The first Polish-born player to appear for Leeds, the 19-year-old has become a mainstay of Rhinos’ pack this season making 21 senior appearances so far.

Born in Gdansk and signed from Hunslet Warriors, Oledzki scored his first Super League try in Leeds’ Magic Weekend defeat by Castleford Tigers.

Our second nominee, back-rower Cameron Smith, made his debut in 2016, but has gone up a level this season, scoring three tries in 15 appearances.

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He is also an England academy international and was signed from the Lock Lane club in Castleford.

At just 18, Jack Walker is already a Super League Grand Final winner. Nominated for the Shooting Star award last season, the Oulton Raiders product has scored three tries in 18 games this year and featured in the World Club Challenge defeat at Melbourne Storm.

To vote, please email the name of your chosen player – from our list of nominees – to [email protected] (entering Shooting Star as the email subject).

Please include your name, address and a daytime phone number.

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Alternatively, send your entry on a postcard or the back of a sealed envelope, to Shooting Star, Sports Desk, Yorkshire Evening Post, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds, LS12 1BE. The player receiving the most votes will win the award.

All votes for that player will go into a draw and the winning reader will receive two tickets to the awards night and will present the Shooting Star trophy. Anybody can vote, but the draw is restricted to those aged 16 and over.

Normal Yorkshire Evening Post competition rules and regulations apply.

The closing date for votes is 9am next Friday August 24.