TEENAGE SENSATION Jack Walker is the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Leeds Rhinos Shooting Star for 2018.
Other winners at Rhinos’ awards night yesterday included winger Tom Briscoe and half-back Richie Myler.
Walker, 19, joins some of the most successful players in the club’s history on the prestigious Shooting Star award’s roll of honour.
He received his prize – a unique framed Yorkshire Evening Post front page – from competition winner Jessica Hudson.
Hudson, one of Walker’s former teachers, was invited to the presentation after her name was drawn out from all those who voted for the winning player.
Walker topped a vote by YEP readers to decide the young player, aged 24 or under, who has made the biggest impact this year.
Other nominees were prop Mikolaj Oledzki and forward Cameron Smith.
Walker – who was nominated when the award was won by another full-back, Ashton Golding, last year – has made 22 appearances for Leeds this season, scoring three tries.
He has been named in the England Knights performance squad and Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield believes Walker could go even further.
“He is a huge talent,” said Sinfield.
“He is very skilful and very quick and he reads the game very well.
“He is brave and has a huge future ahead of him.”
Walker who battled back after suffering a fractured skull as a junior during a game for Oulton Raiders under-14s, is an award winner for the second successive season after being named academy player of the year in 2017.
Sinfield added: “I have really enjoyed working with him and he is going to get better and better. He is among a new crop that’s starting to emerge.
“He had a big year last year and the second year is always the most difficult for a young player, but he has come through it and I believe he will get stronger and stronger.”
Myler, in his first season at the club, was named Grosvenor Casinos player of the year.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan was runner-up, with Tom Briscoe third. Tom Briscoe received the Cravendale fans’ player of the year award.
The academy player of the year, receiving the Chris Sanderson Memorial trophy, was Corey Johnson. Head of analysis James Bletsoe was clubman of the year. Lois Forsell and Rhiannion Marshall shared the Rhinos women’s team player of the year honour.
Ryan Hall won the Leeds Building Society try of the year for his touchdown in the away game against Warrington Wolves.
Rhinos under-19s’ academy Grand Final against Wigan Warriors will be staged at DW Stadium on Friday (5.30pm).
Centre Jimmy Keinhorst confirmed last night he is leaving Leeds Rhinos at the end of the season and is expected to join Hull KR.
Physio Andy Barker also announced his departure to take up a new role with the FA.
Leeds prop Brad Singleton’s season is over, after he was given a two-match penalty notice by the RFL for striking during the 34-6 win at Halifax on Sunday.