First published in League Express, Monday 23rd Sept 2013
Danny Brough has had an outstanding season in leading the Giants to the League Leaders’ Shield, and our award to him last week of the Albert Goldthorpe Medal recognises his consistent form throughout the 27 rounds of Super League.
It was my great privilege to be able to present him with the Albert Goldthorpe Medal last Wednesday. You can read more about the event on pages 8 and 9, and later this week we will have video footage of the event on the Totalrl.com website.
I firmly believe that Danny Brough has been the outstanding player in Super League this season, and he is a very worthy winner of an award that commemorates one of the early superstars of Rugby League.
I was particularly pleased to present the solid gold medal to him in a week that has seen him enter the record books so resoundingly for the Giants, breaking two longstanding individual season records at the club. He has broken the record for the number of goals in a season, which had been held by Ben Gronow since the 1919/20 season, and for points in a season, which had been held by Pat Devery since the 1952/3 season.
Of course that all came from that remarkable, and totally unexpected, slaughter of Hull FC.
When we created the Albert Goldthorpe Medal we tried to introduce an award that explicitly recognises a player’s consistent form throughout the 27 rounds of Super League, with a maximum of three points being awarded to the outstanding player in every Super League match by our reporters covering the game.
Danny earned the maximum three points in nine of the Giants’ 27 matches in the Super League season, which demonstrates his outstanding contribution to their success, which may yet culminate in victory in the Grand Final at Old Trafford on 5th October.
He was the very first winner of the Albert Goldthorpe Medal in 2008, when he played for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Danny had an outstanding season that year, but some people at that time doubted whether a player with one of the so-called smaller clubs in Super League really deserved to win such an award.
Today, however, I am certain that no one will doubt that he is a deserved winner of the Goldthorpe Medal, and he would also be a very worthy winner of the Super League Man of Steel award, for which he has been shortlisted.
I’m sure that one of the major factors in his success has been the influence of Giants coach Paul Anderson, whose masterstroke was to appoint Danny as the club captain towards the end of the 2012 season. To say that he has shone in that role is almost an understatement.
Since then Danny has proved himself to be a natural leader and organiser on the pitch, and has shown a tremendous maturity in that role.
My only regret is that we won’t see him playing for England in the World Cup later this year, although I’m sure that Scotland will benefit enormously from his presence for them, and who knows what they may also achieve with Danny at the helm.
Similarly, Tom Lineham has had an outstanding season for Hull FC, and he thoroughly deserved his Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year medal.
He made just five appearances in 2012, and was given squad number 25 at the start of the season. Yet in a very short space of time he cemented a place on the wing and scored 17 tries in 25 appearances, before injury curtailed his season.
In a season characterised by some tremendous newcomers to Super League, Tom has taken the competition by storm, and is a worthy winner.
Walk against cancer
Can I send my best wishes to those Rugby League supporters who will begin the Walk Against Cancer this Wednesday morning on behalf of the Steve Prescott Foundation.
The walk will begin at 8.00am at Hull KR’s home ground, with three intrepid fans Shaun Kelly, Lisa Jewitt and Ash Wheldon, and will end at Old Trafford on 5 October, hopefully in time for the Grand Final.
Lots of other people will join them on the way to cover parts of the route. Saints Legend Tommy Martyn, Chief Executive Mike Rush and ground safety officer John Murphy will join the trio as they walk from Leeds to Keighley on Saturday, and from Keighley to Bradford on Sunday.
If you would like to join in the Walk Against Cancer please contact Martin Blondel firstname.lastname@example.org. A minimum sponsorship of £50 should be pledged.
Unfortunately the one person who won’t be on the walk is Steve Prescott himself. Steve is currently receiving treatment for the cancer with which he was diagnosed in 2006.
As Steve explained “Since the Engage Mutual Race to the Grand Final that took place last October, my condition has significantly deteriorated. I have suffered from numerous infections and recently I have had further knockbacks with a blocked kidney, perforated bowel and fluid on my lungs. I have moved to Oxford Hospital for more specific care.
“I am confident that I will be able to bounce back and carry on fundraising to help those less fortunate than myself. It is going to take a great deal of time and I am thankful that the Try Assist Fund has supported me and my family through this trying period. The work of the Steve Prescott Foundation must carry on.
“I would like to thank all who are taking part in the Walk Against Cancer and urge all the Rugby League community to join in and support the fantastic efforts from Lisa, Shaun and Ash.”
That seems to me to be an incredibly worthy cause.