St Helens prop Adam Walker has been voted Scotland’s Player of the Year. Walker was the runaway leader – chosen as player of the year by five of the six management team who voted – for three inspirational displays during Scotland’s impressive Four Nations tournament at the end of 2016, and receives the Dave Valentine Award. Full-back Lachlan Coote was a firm runner-up, again picking up votes from five coaches. The other eight votes went to eight other players, showing what a remarkable team showing it was by the Bravehearts.
“Adam again proved to be an outstanding performer for Scotland last year,” said Scotland head coach Steve McCormack. “His performance in the Four Nations was absolutely outstanding and he proved to be one of the best front rowers in the competition. We’re looking for Adam to have another good season and build towards the World Cup in Australia in October.”
Walker won the first of his 14 caps in 2012 in a heavy defeat to Ireland, a game in which his twin brother Johnny also made his Scotland debut, aged 21. Both brothers scored crucial late tries in the defeat to France at Galashiels in November 2014 which, consequently, ensured Scotland won the European Championship and qualified for the 2016 Four Nations.
By the time the tournament opened with Scotland’s loss to Australia at Hull Kingston Rovers, Walker had left the relegated Robins and begins this upcoming season at Super League giants St Helens. The Bradford-born prop, who started playing league at Victoria Rangers before signing for his hometown Bulls, has also played for Huddersfield Giants and had a short loan spell at Barrow before appearing for Hull KR in the 2015 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.
Previous winners of this prestigious award include two of Walker’s current team-mates and Huddersfield duo Danny Brough and Dale Ferguson, while Scotland assistant coach John Duffy won it in 2011.
Dave Valentine Award – Scotland Senior Team Player of the Year
2015 David Scott – Doncaster
2014 Danny Brough – Huddersfield Giants
2013 Luke Douglas – Gold Coast Titans
2012 Ben Fisher – Catalans Dragons
2011 John Duffy – Leigh Centurions
2010 Dale Ferguson – Wakefield Trinity
2009 Mick Nanyn – Harlequins RL
2008 Iain Morrison – Widnes Vikings
2007 Duncan MacGillivray – Wakefield Trinity
2006 Neil Lowe – Doncaster Lakers
2005 Jon Steel – Hull KR
2004 Chris Birchall – Halifax
The other Player of the Year for 2016 were;
Student – Roy Kinnear Award won by Scott Plumridge of Edinburgh College and Edinburgh Eagles;
Under-19 – Thompson-Tait Award won by George Kinnaird of Huddersfield New College;
Wheelchair Player – Graeme Stewart Award won by Michael Mellon of Dundee Dragons.
They will all receive their trophies at the start of the season.
Photo credit: SWPix.com