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Academy Player of the Season - Your Vote Wanted!
Posted by southstander on September 06 2005 - 10:37:34

By John D

It's that time of year again...awards time!

As many of you will be aware, last season we launched the inaugural 'Senior Academy Player of the Season Award' after sponsoring the 'Man of the Match' for all Senior Academy home games. In its first year, the award was won by the sensational Lee Smith, who emerged from the ranks to first team glory during 2005.

This is your chance to consider the candidates, and cast your vote for this years award.

We have six candidates from you out of a Senior Academy side studded with future stars.

Chris Buttery

Chris is approaching the 'veteran' stage of his Senior Academy career and 2005 will go down as his best season yet. Having played a number of positions in the backs, the halves and the pack, he has been a vital cog in the Leeds machine. His versatility and experience have benefitted a Leeds side which was short on the latter in the early part of the year. 10 tries is a good return in a side that have been running points in for fun at times, but it is his defence which has stood out. Yet to have a run out in the first team, but that day can't be too far off.

Ashley Gibson

There's not much you can say about the year Ashley Gibson has had that the stats don't say just as well and more concisely. At the time of writing, he has 22 tries in 15 appearances and 98 goals at a strike rate of over 75% for a total of almost 300 points. Playing largely in the centres with sporadic forays at loose forward, he has been the focal point of the Leeds attack throughout the season and got his just reward with a first team call up at Leigh, a chance he grabbed with both hands with a hat-trick of tries and five goals. He also starred for the England U18s in their series against France. Youth, versatility and a keenness to learn all mark Gibson out to be a star of the very near future.

Luke Stenchion

Unusually for props in the modern age, Luke has started every game for Leeds at the time of writing and has lead the pack with aplomb. He makes the hard yards and is as committed a defender as you could wish to see. The side has seen a number of players used in the front row, but Luke has been the ever-present rock arounds which the pack has been built. A real unsung hero.

Jordon Tansey

Jordan Tansey has become a try scoring machine this season. Normally a halfback, he made the switch to full-back and looked like he'd been playing there for years. Chiming into the line, he has crossed for 22 tries so far and at one point scored hat-tricks in three consecutive matches. Also a useful kicker, he has ten from eleven for the season - 91% - for a total of over 100 points.

Dave Tootill

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. In Dave's case, the stats back up his outstanding contribution to the cause this season. The fewest dropped balls, the most offloads and high up in terms of carries and tackles. Dave thrives on the physicality of the game in the forwards and is a keen and enthusiastic worker. His desire to further his game has seen him take in loan spells at Oldham and Halifax, where his efforts have seen him maintain his impressive stats. Still only a teenager, he can become a very good prop forward.

Danny Williams

With Peter Fox vacating one wing spot following his move to York, the position was up for grabs. Danny Williams was the man who shouted loudest and longest and has slotted into the side seamlessly. He seems to have filled out physically since last season without it harming his pace adversely. He's run in 17 tries in the current campaign and has excelled in bringing the ball out from the line and in going looking for work infield. Two sin-binnings for professional fouls have blotted the copybook, but that also emphasises his willingness to get back when those around him are struggling. His form this season saw him called up for England's U18 series against France in mid-season.

Please cast your vote here...

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