Gale wins Parliamentary Rugby League Group Player of the Year

Drew Darbyshire

The Parliamentary Rugby League Group voted England star Luke Gale as their Player of the Year at their annual dinner last night.

Gale was outstanding in the 2017 season, guiding Castleford Tigers to lifting the League Leaders’ Shield and reach the Betfred Super League Grand Final. He scored 14 tries and 145 goals in 30 games.

The Geoff Lofthouse Award, named after one of the late founders and long-standing Chair of the Group, was made to David Hadfield. Dave is a well-respected journalist who has been involved in Rugby League for nearly 40 years and has been a brilliant servant to the sport. He is one of the most highly-regarded journalists in the sport and has authored a number of books on the sport.

Former Group Chair Greg Mulholland was the recipient of the Group’s Outstanding Service Award, in recognition of his support for the game and the Parliamentary Rugby League Group whilst a Parliamentarian. Mulholland was Group Chair between 2010 and 2017, and established the Political Animals, the politicians Rugby League team, in 2008. He was also made an Honorary Life Member of the Group.

The Group announced for new Honorary Life Members: Angela Powers, a reporter and presenter of Sky Sports’ Rugby League programmes for over 20 years; Garry Schofield, the 1990 Golden Boot winner and joint most-capped Great Britain player of all time; Lizzie Jones, in recognition of her tireless campaigning and work to set up the Danny Jones Defibrilator Fund; and Jas Athwal, Bradford Bulls Chair who pioneered Rugby League within the Asian community.

Speaking at the dinner Group Chair, Judith Cummins MP, said: “Despite this year’s general election, the Group has continued to be active in standing up for the sport, raising and challenging issues and speaking up for Rugby League in Parliament at every opportunity.

“The Group is thankful to associate members for their continued input, and particularly to Group sponsors Kingstone Press and the RFL for their ongoing support.

“We are passionate about Rugby League at all levels, and with 2018 marking the Group’s 30th anniversary, we look forward to continuing to support Rugby League wherever we can.”

Throughout the evening, attendees were encouraged to take part in a silent auction and raffle, and by the end of the evening, the Group was able to announce a £2,353 donation for charity partner, Rugby League Cares.