Award nominations for Thunder players and Community programme

Alex Clegg, Nick Newman and the Newcastle Thunder Community Foundation could be celebrating success at next week’s annual Betfred Championship and League 1 awards evening, with all three making shortlists at the Manchester gala.

On the field, academy product Alex Clegg’s stellar 2019 season has earned him a nomination as League 1’s Young Player of the Year, while Nick Newman’s impressive performances for both Coventry Bears and Thunder have seen him make the League 1 Player of the Year shortlist.

Clegg has been one of the revelations of the year and has proven to be one of Thunder’s most potent attacking threats, with 17 tries to his name and joint second in the club’s try-scoring charts with Lewis Young.

Up against Caine Barnes, Andrew Bulman, Callum Hazzard and Jacob Jones, Clegg would follow in the footsteps of team-mate Young if he wins the prize, with the fullback picking up that accolade back in 2017.  

Newman, who made the switch to the North East in June, has been an impressive find for both of the clubs he has represented in 2019, being a key component for Coventry Bears in three of their four wins this season and helping to steer Thunder to the best-attacking record in League 1 after 20 rounds of the regular season.

Only 22, the young Australian who took a punt on progressing his career by moving to England for 2019 is up against Whitehaven duo Dion Aiye and Mark Shackley and Oldham’s Danny Langtree.

Off the field, the superb work of the club’s Community Foundation is again in the running to be recognised as Foundation of the year, making a three-team shortlist drawn from the 25 Championship and League 1 clubs.

Based around work that has lead to the creation of new clubs and teams at grassroots level across the North East, a 35% increase in participation numbers over the last five years and the innovative SPARC festivals, Newcastle will face Leigh Centurions and Halifax RLFC in the final voting.    

2019 Betfred Championship & League 1 award nominees

Betfred Championship

Player of the Year: Andy Ackers (Toronto Wolfpack), Gareth O’Brien (Toronto Wolfpack), Jon Wilkin (Toronto Wolfpack).

Young Player of the Year: Matty Ashton (Swinton Lions), Keenan Brand (Widnes Vikings), Joe Cator (Leigh Centurions).

Coach of the Year: Mark Aston (Sheffield Eagles), James Ford (York City Knights), Brian McDermott (Toronto Wolfpack).

Betfred League 1

Player of the Year: Dion Aiye (Whitehaven), Danny Langtree (Oldham), Nick Newman (Newcastle Thunder), Marc Shackley (Whitehaven).

Young Player of the Year: Caine Barnes (Workington Town), Andrew Bulman (Whitehaven), Alex Clegg (Newcastle Thunder), Callum Hazzard (North Wales Crusaders), Jacob Jones (Coventry Bears).

Coach of the Year: Gary Charlton (Whitehaven), Anthony Murray (North Wales Crusaders), Scott Naylor (Oldham).

Betfred Championship / League 1 Foundation of the Year Nominees: Halifax RLFC, Leigh Centurions, Newcastle Thunder.