Leeds Rhinos win Wheelchair RL team of the year honour

Challenge Cup holders Leeds Rhinos have been named Wheelchair Rugby League team of the year.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 1st February 2020, 11:22 am
Updated Saturday, 1st February 2020, 11:23 am
Wheelchair RL team of the year Leeds Rhinos. Picture: RFL.
Wheelchair RL team of the year Leeds Rhinos. Picture: RFL.

Rhinos received the award at Wheelchair RL's first presentation ceremony, at Emerald Headingley.

Leeds also finished top of the table in 2019 and were runners-up to Halifax in the Grand Final.

Rhinos' James Simpson was beaten to the first International Rugby League (IRL) Golden Boot for Wheelchair Rugby League by England teammate Jack Brown, of Halifax.

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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.

Brown led England to a 100 per cent record on their groundbreaking five-match tour of Australia In the autumn, In addition to an historic victory In France earlier In the year.

Brown's recognition means International Rugby League's three Golden Boots are held by players from different nations - following the awards to New Zealand's Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Australia's Jessica Sergis before Christmas.

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 chairman'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 the Army and 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 being named coach of the year and they were also recognised as club of the year.