THE SEARCH begins today for Leeds Rhinos’ Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star 2015.
The award, for the young player who has made the biggest impact over the course of the season, began in 1998 and is one of the highlights of Rhinos’ annual presentation night, to be held this year at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Monday, September 21.
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 award 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.
The first nominee this year is winger Ash Handley. The 19-year-old Oulton Raiders product made his debut in last August’s Super League defeat at London Broncos, but really burst on to the scene on Boxing Day, when he scored five tries in Rhinos’ win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Handley was called into the team in March, after Tom Briscoe joined the long-term casualty list due to a serious shoulder injury and scored 12 tries in 19 successive appearances, including two hat-tricks in Super League wins over St Helens.
The second nominee is Jimmy Keinhorst. Now 25, Keinhorst was promoted into Rhinos’ top-20 squad at the start of the year. He played rugby union for Otley and began his league career with Leeds Metropolitan University, being recommended to Rhinos by their coach Paul Fletcher.
A German international, he had a loan spell at Wakefield last year and has also featured on dual-registration for Hunslet Hawks. He was called back to Rhinos in June, due to an injury crisis and played with distinction in both his specialist centre position and the second-row.
Brad Singleton, the third nominee, has been in Rhinos’ squad since 2011, but this has proved his breakthrough season. After playing 24 times last year, he was promoted into the top-20 and has missed only two games so far this year.
A tough, pacy and strong-running front-rower, the Cumbrian-born 22-year-old recently signed a new four-year contract and is viewed as a long-term successor to veteran props Kylie Leuluai and Jamie Peacock.
Already a Grand Final winner, our final nominee Stevie Ward is just 21 and has made a strong recovery this term after two years disrupted by injury.
A strong defender, with line-breaking ability, Ward has forced himself on to the verge of England selection and has been a regular in the starting line-up this season, producing a series of eye-catching displays.
To vote, please email the name of your chosen player – from our list of nominees – to firstname.lastname@example.org (entering Shooting Star as the email subject). Please include your name, address and a daytime phone number.
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 YEP competition rules and regulations apply.
The closing date for votes is 5pm next Monday, August 24.