THE GOING has been tough, yet again, for Leeds Rhinos this season – but the emergence of a new generation of young talent is a shining light in the gloom.
One of those will be honoured in September when he is named Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star for 2019 – and it is up to you to decide who that is.
Six teenagers have played in Rhinos’ first team during 2019, alongside another three aged 20 and four who are 24 or under.
In addition, several players – including three who have yet to break into Leeds’ senior side – have gained experiece on loan or dual-registration at lower-division clubs.
The young Rhinos player who has made the biggest impact over the course of the season will be named the club’s Shooting Star, joining an illustrious list of winners including some of Leeds’ biggest names in the summer era.
The coveted Shooting Star prize began in 1998 and is one of the highlights of Rhinos’ annual black-tie presentation night, to be held this year in the new Emerald Suite at Headingley Stadium on Monday, September 9.
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.
Previous winners of the award – claimed last year by Jack Walker – have not been nominated.
The first nominee this year is centre Harry Newman.
From Huddersfield, the 19-year-old Newsome Panthers product learned his craft on dual-registration with Featherstone Rovers last year, but has been an ever-present in Rhinos’ side since scoring four tries during a Challenge Cup win over Workington Town in April.
So far he has touched down eight times in 17 games.
Already an academy international, that form has earned him a call into the England Knights performance squad and he recently signed a new Leeds contract.
Nominated for the second successive year is prop Mikolaj Oledzki.
The first Polish-born player to appear for Leeds, Oledzki, aged 20, made his debut in 2017 and has played 20 times this year, scoring two tries.
He is also an England academy and Knights international and was signed from Hunslet Warriors.
Our third nominee, is another 20-yer-old, Cameron Smith, who made his debut in 2016 after joining Rhinos from the Lock Lane club in Castleford.
Primarily a second-row/loose-forward, he has also played at stand-off this term and filled in as hooker. He has made 17 appearances this term and, like his fellow nominees, is a member of the England Knights performance squad.
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 Yorkshire Evening Post competition rules and regulations apply.
The closing date for votes is 9am next Wednesday, August 7.