Niall Evalds yesterday became the fourth Castleford player in history to win the coveted Lance Todd Trophy and the 78th overall winner of an award voted for by members of the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association (RLWBA).
Evalds received 18 of the 42 votes cast, five more than nearest challenger James Roby, the St Helens skipper who led his side from the front as St Helens successfully overturned a 6-12 half-time deficit. The remaining 11 votes were shared between Saints’ Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson and Agnatius Paasi, and the Tigers’ Jesse Sene-Lefao.
The Castleford full-back follows in the illustrious footsteps of Bob Beardmore (1986), Bill Kilbride (1970) and Malcolm Reilly (1969), all of whom left Wembley Stadium with Challenge Cup winners medals following victories over Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford and Wigan respectively.
Evalds, who was also on the losing sidel ast year with Salford Red Devils when his opposite number Richie Myler was named man-of-the-match, is the first recipient of the award from a losing side since Kevin Sinfield won the award in Leeds Rhinos’ 2005 defeat to Hull FC.
The Lance Todd Trophy was introduced in 1946 in tribute to the New Zealander who first came to England to play for Wigan and went on to become a driving force off the field at Salford. He was killed in a road accident during World War II at the age of 59.
Lance Todd Trophy recipients were originally given cash with which to purchase their own memento, until in 1956 the Red Devils Association, which represents ex-Salford players, decided to pay for a permanent trophy.
Featherstone fullback Craig Hall won the Ray French Award for a Player of the Match performance in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final which saw Rovers beat York City Knights 41-34. Hall received 48.5% of a vote conducted on Our League.