David Scott has been voted Scotland Senior Player of the Year for 2015, the first product of the Scotland Rugby League development pathway to win the award. The twelfth annual winner of the Dave Valentine Award, Scott’s progress through the ranks are indicated by the fact that he won the Scotland Under-18s Player of the Year Award in 2011 and Under-16 Award in 2009.
The award is given based on each player’s contribution to Scotland’s international campaign, which in 2015 saw them finish bottom of the European Championship after a much-weakened team lost all three fixtures, all of them narrowly.
Scott received equal votes from the six-man management team as Bradford Bulls’ forward Dale Ferguson, meaning head coach Steve McCormack had the casting vote. Ferguson’s Bradford team-mate Danny Addy came third with Widnes forward Ben Kavanagh the only other player to receive a nomination.
“Davie was outstanding for us,” says McCormack, who gave Scott his senior debut in 2011 when he was still a teenager. “He started on the wing against Wales but we moved him to full-back when we put Oscar Thomas in the halves and he responded brilliantly. That final game in Avignon said it all to me: Davie was behind a backline of four teenagers but he was calm, organised and laid his body on the line for his country. He is the perfect example to all the kids coming through: dedicated to Scotland, serious about his rugby and doesn’t worry about where he’s come from or what size he is. He’s now an experienced Championship player who’s getting better and better. Davie shows there is a pathway for teenage players in Scotland.”
Having played rugby union to representative level in Stirling, Scott started playing rugby league at Easterhouse Panthers and showed enough potential to be signed by Hull KR. After a year at Craven Park, he spent a season with Featherstone Rovers and has since become a stalwart of Doncaster. He now has 13 senior caps for the Bravehearts as well as international appearances at junior level. Scott, who succeeds Danny Brough in winning the Valentine Award, will spend 2016 with Batley Bulldogs under head coach John Kear, who led Wales to the European Championship last autumn.
Aberdeen Warriors back-rower JOHNNY GRAY, a 21-year-old apprentice machinist, won the David Rose Award as Club XIII Player of the Year, just beating David Spivey to the prize. Gray, who learned the game in his native Bradford before moving north of the border, has been a stand-out for Aberdeen and the national representative amateur team throughout their 2015 campaign.
“Johnny has been instrumental for the Warriors over the last few years and was the leading player for the Club XIII last season. As a young player he is a major asset for us and will play a major role in the future,” said Warriors and Club XIII head coach Craig Parslow. Gray’s next game will be the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round when Aberdeen play host to Northumbria University on 30 January.
OLIVER MURRAY won the Roy Kinnear Award as Scotland Students’ Player of the Year, as chosen by head coach Nathan Graham, the former Bradford Bulls’ full-back and Scotland captain. Murray, of Blackpool & Fylde College, progressed through the Under-19s over the last two years to make his Students debut. “Despite being one of the youngest players on the pitch in all of our games, Ollie didn’t take a step back and was a driving force for us in the Four Nations,” says Graham.
All the winners will receive their awards once the new season kicks off.