Rugby League


29 Sep 2021

Betfred Championship and League 1 Awards – winners announced

Betfred Championship and League 1 Awards – winners announced

Craig Hall of Featherstone Rovers has been recognised as the Betfred Championship Player of the Year for 2021.

Hall’s award, determined by votes from the coaches of the 14 Betfred Championship clubs, was revealed on a special Our League programme this evening, with the usual awards dinner remaining impractical because of ongoing Covid-19 concerns.

The 33-year-old, who started his career with Hull FC in 2007, has scored 274 points in Featherstone’s Betfred Championship campaign, which continues with a Semi Final against Halifax Panthers this Saturday evening. He has been the leading goal-scorer in the competition with 85, and is second only to Rovers team-mate Gareth Gale in the try-scoring chart with 26.

Earlier this season, Hall won the Ray French Award as Player of the Match in Featherstone’s victory over York City Knights in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley.

The Championship award completes an unusual double, as he was the League 1 Player of the Year in 2017 when playing for Toronto Wolfpack.

“Winning this award is a real honour, especially given the quality of the other players nominated and many others across the Betfred Championship,” said Hall.

The Toulouse captain Johnathon Ford, Batley’s scrum half Tom Gilmore and Hall’s Featherstone team-mate James Harrison were the three other nominees.

Batley Bulldogs also received a boost ahead of their Betfred Championship Semi Final at Toulouse Olympique on Saturday as Craig Lingard was named Coach of the Year.

Lingard was already a club legend when he took over as coach ahead of the 2020 season, as Batley’s record try-scorer in a 10-year career.

After the frustration of 2020, he has steered the unfancied Bulldogs to fourth in the Betfred Championship table, and then enjoyed a memorable victory over his former mentor John Kear last weekend as Batley beat Bradford Bulls to move to within 80 minutes of the Million Pound Game which determines promotion to the Betfred Super League.

Tyler Dupree, a tearaway forward who has been outstanding for Oldham in 2021 and was unveiled as a new signing by Widnes Vikings earlier this week, won the Betfred Championship Young Player of the Year Award.

A highly encouraging season for the North Wales Crusaders following their move to Colwyn Bay was recognised with two of the three awards voted for by the Betfred League 1 coaches.

Rob Massam, their powerful wing, was voted Player of the Year, and Anthony Murray was named Coach of the Year.

Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e, the teenage Keighley Cougars full-back who has relished the unusual experience of playing alongside his father Quentin this season – and has earned a move to the Betfred Super League in 2022 with Hull Kingston Rovers - was named Young Player of the Year.

Three other awards were revealed during the Our League programme.

York City Knights and Barrow Raiders were recognised as Clubs of the Year for Betfred Championship and League 1 respectively – in each case for their off-field dynamism which has led to increased attendances and especially successful seasons for their Women’s teams, with York also reaching Wembley in the 1895 Cup and Barrow securing the League Leaders’ Shield and with it automatic promotion to the Championship in 2022.

Lachlan Walmsley, Whitehaven’s livewire outside back who has made such an impact in Cumbria since arriving from Australia – and hopes to make his Scotland debut against Jamaica this autumn thanks to a family qualification – was voted Entertainer of the Year by Our League members in a poll which attracted more than 2,000 votes.

There are three huge games in the Betfred Championship and League 1 this weekend.

Sky Sports will show both Betfred Championship Semi Finals on Saturday – Toulouse Olympique v Batley Bulldogs kicking off at 315pm, followed by Featherstone Rovers v Halifax Panthers at 530pm, with the winners meeting in the Million Pound Game on Sunday week, October 10.

This Sunday, Keighley Cougars host Doncaster in the Betfred League 1 Eliminator, with the winners going to Workington Town seven days later to determine who will earn promotion to the Betfred Championship with Barrow.

Both those games will be live on Our League, with the Keighley-Doncaster game kicking off at 3pm.


Roll of Honour

Craig Hall (Featherstone Rovers) - Betfred Championship Player of the Year

Tyler Dupree (Oldham) - Betfred Championship Young Player of the Year

Craig Lingard (Batley Bulldogs) - Betfred Championship Coach of the Year

Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders) - Betfred League 1 Player of the Year

Phoenix Laulu-Togaga'e (Keighley Cougars) - Betfred League 1 Young Player of the Year

Anthony Murray (North Wales Crusaders) - Betfred League 1 Coach of the Year

York City Knights – Betfred Championship Club of the Year

Barrow Raiders – Betfred League 1 Club of the Year

Lachlan Walmsley – Our League Entertainer of the Year