Bevan French, Sinead Peach and Lewis King were the headline winners as Rugby League staged its biggest and most inclusive Awards Night at Emirates Old Trafford.
French, the brilliant Australian whose successful switch to stand-off has been pivotal in Wigan Warriors’ drive to Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final against Catalans Dragons, was named the 2023 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel as the competition’s outstanding player – the first Wigan player to win the award since Sam Tomkins in 2012.
He wins the award ahead of Grand Final opponent Tom Johnstone and St Helens star Jack Welsby.
It is the second consecutive year that Welsby has been nominated.
It is widely believed that Welsby will soon win the award and maybe win more than one but the wait to see him cement himself as the face of Super League goes on.
Peach, the tough and skilful hooker who lifted the Betfred Women’s Super League trophy for York Valkyrie after Sunday’s Grand Final victory, was named the 2023 Woman of Steel.
And King, a 38-year-old from Dartford in Kent who has excelled for London Roosters this season after playing a key part in England’s World Cup win last autumn, was the inaugural winner of the new Wheels of Steel as the outstanding performer in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League.
In an undoubted first for Rugby League, King was one of three Kent-born winners on a special night for both the Roosters and the London Broncos, whose surge to this Sunday’s Betfred Championship Grand Final received treble recognition.
Tom Coyd MBE, King’s coach for both London Roosters and England who is from Gillingham, was named the Wheelchair Coach of the Year.
Bill Leyland, the 20-year-old Broncos hooker from Maidstone, was the third Kent winner as the Betfred Championship Young Player of the Year – 12 months after his elder brother Oli was a runner-up in the category.
Mike Eccles was a popular winner as Betfred Championship Coach of the Year having plotted the Broncos stunning late-season run of form which leaves them 80 minutes away from a return to the Super League.
And Dean Parata, an Australia-born Italy international who joined the Broncos from Featherstone last year, was a joint winner of the Betfred Championship Player of the Year award with Lachlan Walmsley, the prolific Halifax Panthers wing who represented his Scottish heritage in last year’s World Cup.
Adrian Lam of Leigh Leopards was voted the Betfred Super League Coach of the Year by his peers, after a hugely successful return to the elite for the Leopards in which they secured a first Play-Off position and won the Betfred Challenge Cup at Wembley.
Lindsay Anfield of York Valkyrie won the equivalent award for the Betfred Women’s Super League, and Liam Finn was the League One Coach of the Year after steering Dewsbury Rams to automatic promotion.
Reiss Butterworth, who was a model of consistency at hooker for the Rams, was named Betfred League One Player of the Year.
The Warrington Wolves wing Josh Thewlis was the Betfred Super League Young Player of the Year, with Leeds Rhinos claiming a double success in the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions, with awards for Caitlin Casey and Josh Butler.
Workington Town half-back Ciaran Walker was voted Betfred League One Young Player of the Year, and there another success for Cumbria as Barrow Raiders won the Foundation of the Year award, scoring highly across 11 categories which included promotion to the BWSL for their women’s team, and an award-winning year for their Learning Disability and Able Raiders programmes.
As announced before the ceremony, the Glen’s Spirit of Super League Award was presented to the family of Rob Burrow MBE, for their inspirational support of the former Leeds Rhinos and England half-back since his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease four years ago.
Rugby League Awards Night 2023 – Winners
Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel – Bevan French (Wigan Warriors)
Woman of Steel – Sinead Peach (York Valkyrie)
Wheels of Steel – Lewis King (London Roosters)
Betfred Championship Player of the Year – Dean Parata (London Broncos) and Lachlan Walmsley (Halifax Panthers)
Betfred League One Player of the Year – Reiss Butterworth (Dewsbury Rams)
Betfred Super League Young Player of the Year – Josh Thewlis (Warrington Wolves)
Betfred Women’s Super League Young Player of the Year – Caitlin Casey (Leeds Rhinos)
Betfred Wheelchair Super League Young Player of the Year – Josh Butler (Leeds Rhinos)
Betfred Championship Young Player of the Year – Bill Leyland (London Broncos)
Betfred League One Young Player of the Year – Ciaran Walker (Workington Town)
Betfred Super League Coach of the Year – Adrian Lam (Leigh Leopards)
Betfred Women’s Super League Coach of the Year – Lindsay Anfield (York Valkyrie)
Betfred Wheelchair Super League Coach of the Year – Tom Coyd MBE (London Roosters)
Betfred Championship Coach of the Year – Mike Eccles (London Broncos)
Betfred League One Coach of the Year – Liam Finn (Dewsbury Rams)
Foundation of the Year – Barrow Raiders (with commendations for Leigh Leopards and York RLFC)
Glen’s Spirit of Super League Award – The Burrow Family