This week’s Farrell’s Forum will, unfortunately, be the last one of this season, owing to the Scarborough News’ new weekly format and the dearth of local sporting news arising from the new football and rugby union seasons.
This week’s column will take a brief look back through this season in order to hand out the gongs in the first annual Farrell’s Forum Awards. It’s a little bit like the Man of Steel awards ceremony, only on not quite so grand of a scale, think in terms of what the Razzies are to the Oscars, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the ‘Fazzies’.
Coach of the Year:
Despite the successes of Tony Smith’s Warrington winning the Carnegie Challenge Cup and Shaun Wane’s Wigan securing the League Leaders Shield, this award can only go to one man, Bradford Bulls’ Mick Potter.
Winner: Mick Potter – After being released by the Bradford Bulls due to them entering administration, Potter returned without pay to galvanise his team to challenge for the play-offs despite, all the hullabaloo surrounding the Odsal club. A fine and honourable achievement.
Team of the Year:
The top two footballing sides in the competition this year have been the two teams heading the Super League table going into the play-offs, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.
Both have played some scintillating rugby league, Warrington off the back off their dominating pack and offload game (386, more than any other team in the competition), while Wigan have played a more expansive style, attacking with width and pace to create clean breaks (260 – 58 more than any other team in the competition).
Winner: Wigan Warriors – It’s hard to argue with the stats, most tries scored, fewest points conceded, most tackle busts and clean breaks, and fewest missed tackles.
Wigan have been the complete team this year.
Player of the Year:
The three outstanding individuals from this season for me have been Sam Tomkins, James Roby and Brett Hodgson, three very different players, but all genuinely world class.
Honourable mentions should also go to Gareth Hock and Ben Westwood.
Tomkins’ game relies on speed and evasiveness, and an innate ability to chime into the attacking line at the right time to make the most of defensive weaknesses (39 clean breaks, the most in Super League), while Roby builds his game around work rate in defence (923 tackles, second in Super League) and an instinctive awareness of when to run from dummy-half in order to exploit lazy markers (724 – 277 more than anybody else in Super League).
Hodgson’s game is much more difficult to quantify though.
He is not the strongest, quickest or fittest player in the Stobart Super League, he doesn’t feature in the top ten lists for clean breaks, metres gained or tackles made, only for goal kicking.
But therein is his quality, Hodgson’s talents lie in his ability to read a game, both in attack and defence, and his all-round game awareness is second to none, he’s a master of his craft.
Winner: Sam Tomkins – The most exciting player to come from these shores since Ellery Hanley. Is unplayable on his day, the anticipation every single time he touches the ball tells you all you need to know about just how good he is.
Outstanding Achievement Award:
Rugby League in Scarborough has come in many differing guises throughout the years, but it has always had a strong following and large numbers of youngsters keen to participate.
This season saw the coming of age of many of those youngster as a young Scarborough Pirates side, led superbly on the field by captain, Adam Lee, secured the first league triumph in the town for 20 years by securing the Yorkshire Men’s Division Four title and maintaining a 100 per cent record in the process, despite facing tough opposition in the form of Hull Dockers, Holderness Vikings and Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks.
Winner: Scarborough Pirates
Special Lifetime Achievement Award:
In light of the Pirates’ spectacular season it is only fitting to honour the man without whom none of it would have been possible, the driving force behind the Scarborough Pirates club and a man who works tirelessly behind the scenes without acclaim but who encompasses all that is great about amateur rugby league.
Without this man Scarborough Pirates would neither have any sources of income, nor any sense of direction and would almost certainly cease to exist.
Winner: Dave Marsden – The lifeblood of the Scarborough Pirates club.