FULL-BACK ASHTON Golding is the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Leeds Rhinos Shooting Star for 2017.
The 21-year-old Stanningley product joins some of the most successful players in the club’s history on the award’s roll of honour.
Golding topped a vote by Yorkshire Evening Post readers to decide the young player, aged 24 or under, who has made the biggest impact this year, seeing off strong opposition from fellow nominees Jordan Baldwinson, Mikolaj Oledzki and Jack Walker.
His award – a specially designed and framed Evening Post back page – was presented by YEP competition winner Alex Dunhill, from Morley, who, coincidentally, shares a birthday with Golding and last year’s winner Jordan Lilley.
Other winners last night included Joel Moon, who was named Grosvenor Casino player of the year.
Moon, who switched from centre to stand-off early in the campaign, is Rhinos’ top try scorer this year with 20 in 29 appearances.
Hooker Matt Parcell was player of the year runner-up, with Stevie Ward third.
Parcell received the Cravendale fans’ player of the year prize and club person of the year was head of customer experience Sian Jones.
Walker received the Chris Sanderson Memorial Award for academy player of the year, sponsored by Leeds Beckett University.
Golding was promoted to the no1 jersey at the start of the season.
He has scored three tries and 14 goals in 21 appearances, all in the starting line-up and earned a reputation for impressive last-gasp defence on his team’s goal line.
He lost his place for a spell in the Super-8s, but returned with an impressive display in last Friday’s win over Salford Red Devils.
Rhinos captain Danny McGuire is full of admiration for the way Golding, who made his Leeds debut in 2014, has taken on one of the key roles in the team.
“He has had a really good year,” said McGuire, who was a Shooting Star winner early in his career.
“There is a lot of pressure when you have that no1 shirt on your back, but I think Ashton has held his own really well and he is only going to improve.”
McGuire described Golding as “one of the most dedicated players I have ever seen at that age” and feels the youngster’s enthusiasm and mental toughness are important assets.
He added: “He is really committed and very proud to wear the Leeds shirt. He is one of the players you always see doing extras at training and working hard on his game and working even harder in the gym.
“He is young and he is only going to get better.
“I think sometimes when players come into the team in key positions you expect a lot out of them and they need a lot of time to develop.
“Ashton is going to be great for the club going forward.”