Toronto trio nominated for Championship Player of the Year award

Toronto’s Andy Ackers, Gareth O’Brien and Jon Wilkin have all been nominated for the 2019 Betfred Championship Player of the Year. 

The Canadian club will face Toulouse for a place in the play-off final having finished the season 12 points clear at the top of the second division.

Even if they lose at Lamport Stadium this weekend, Brian McDermott’s side will still have another chance, facing the winners of York and Featherstone for the chance to secure promotion to Super League.

O’Brien has enjoyed an impressive 2019, scoring 20 tries and 93 goals in 24 appearances, while Ackers has crossed 14 times in 27 appearances, eight of which came off the bench.

Wilkin, meanwhile, has only scored twice in 25 matches during his first season in Canada, but has developed into a reliable member of the Toronto forward pack nonetheless.

Wolfpack boss Brian McDermott has also earned recognition after being nominated for Championship Coach of the Year alongside York’s James Ford and Sheffield Head Coach Mark Aston.

The three nominees for Young Player of the Year are Swinton’s Matty Ashton, Widnes centre Keanan Brand and Joe Cator of Leigh.

In League 1, Whitehaven have been rewarded for their automatic promotion to the second tier after having at least one member of their club nominated in each category.

Captain Marc Shackley is joined by team-mate and Papua New Guinea half-back Dion Aiye, Oldham’s Danny Langtree and Nick Newman of Newcastle Thunder.

Gary Charlton is in the running for the Coach of the Year award, with competition from Scott Naylor – whose Oldham team will begin their Play-Off campaign at home to Doncaster this weekend after finishing second in the table – and Anthony Murray, who continues to earn admiration for his work with the North Wales Crusaders.

Haven’s young winger Andrew Bulman has been nominated for the League 1 Young Player of the Year after crossing 17 times in as many appearances.

He is up for the award alongside Wigan’s Caine Barnes, who has impressed on loan at Workington, St Helens’ Callum Hazzard, who has been equally impressive on loan at North Wales Crusaders, Coventry’s Jacob Jones and Newcastle utility back Alex Clegg.

The winners will be announced at the Betfred Championship and League 1 Awards Night at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on Tuesday September 24 – which will be screened live on the RFL’s Our League app.

Full list of nominees:

Championship Player of the Year: Andy Ackers (Toronto Wolfpack), Gareth O’Brien (Toronto Wolfpack), Jon Wilkin (Toronto Wolfpack)

Championship Young Player of the Year: Matty Ashton (Swinton Lions), Keanan Brand (Widnes Vikings), Joe Cator (Leigh Centurions)

Championship Coach of the Year: Mark Aston (Sheffield Eagles), James Ford (York City Knights), Brian McDermott (Toronto Wolfpack)

League 1 Player of the Year: Dion Aiye (Whitehaven), Danny Langtree (Oldham), Nick Newman (Newcastle Thunder), Marc Shackley (Whitehaven)

League 1 Young Player of the Year: Caine Barnes (Workington Town), Andrew Bulman (Whitehaven), Alex Clegg (Newcastle Thunder), Callum Hazzard (North Wales Crusaders), Jacob Jones (Coventry Bears)

League 1 Coach of the Year: Gary Charlton (Whitehaven), Anthony Murray (North Wales Crusaders), Scott Naylor (Oldham)

Betfred Championship / League 1 Foundation of the Year Nominees: Halifax, Leigh, Newcastle Thunder


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21-year-old Sports Journalism Graduate from the University of Chester. Digital Content Producer for Love Rugby League, Live Text Commentator for Tribe Sports and Marketing & Communications Assistant at Cheshire FA.Twitter: @J_M_Messenger