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Challenge Cup

29 May 2022

McQueen and Ipape clinch overseas awards double

McQueen and Ipape clinch overseas awards double

For the second year in succession Rugby League’s coveted Lance Todd Trophy, awarded to the man-of-the-match in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final, went to a player of the losing side – the Huddersfield Giants forward Chris McQueen. 

Like Castleford Tigers’ Niall Evalds in 2021, McQueen was the overwhelming choice among members of the media with 14 of the 39 votes cast – with a deadline for voting of 75 minutes because of the need to collate votes for an announcement before full-time.

He becomes the first Huddersfield player to win the award since Peter Ramsden on his 19th birthday in 1953, and only the fifth Australian winner since the award’s inception in 1946 – following in the illustrious footsteps of Brett Kenny (Wigan, 1985), Graham Eadie (Halifax, 1987), and Warrington Wolves’ Michael Monaghan (2009) and Brett Hodgson (2012). 

Only one Wigan player received votes – Harry Smith, whose inch-perfect kick created the opportunity for Warriors’ winger Liam Marshall to break Giants’ hearts with the decisive score in the dying minutes of a pulsating encounter enjoyed by more than 50,000 spectators inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and a BBC TV audience which peaked at 1.4million.  

The Lance Todd Trophy was introduced 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. 

Chris McQueen joins a rare group of players to be awarded the Lance Todd Trophy despite finishing on the losing team – a group including Don Fox (Wakefield Trinity, 1968), Robbie Paul (Bradford Bulls, 1996) and Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos, 2005).

In the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final which preceded the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham, the Leigh Centurions hooker Edwin Ipape won a supporters’ poll through the Our League app to become the third winner of the Ray French Award.

Ipape, a 23-year-old from Papua New Guinea who made a huge impact from the interchange bench as Leigh came from behind to beat Featherstone Rovers 30-16, won more than 50% of the votes having been nominated as one of four contenders for the award with his team-mate Ben Reynolds, and the Featherstone pair Mark Kheirellah and Craig Hall – who won the Award at Wembley in 2021.

Anthony Thackeray of Sheffield Eagles was the winner in the first AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley in 2019, after Our League members had also voted to name the award in honour of Ray French.

 

Lance Todd Trophy voting

Chris McQueen, 14 

Ricky Leutele, 9

Oliver Russell, 6

Tui Lolohea, 5

Jermaine McGillvary, 2

Harry Smith, 2

Daniel Levi, 1