Eagles boss Aston receives top accolade
SHEFFIELD Eagles boss Mark Aston has been named the National League One coach of the year.
It ends a great season for Aston with Eagles becoming the first promoted side to make the top six play-offs.
He beat off competition from Castleford coach Terry Matterson and Widnes boss Steve McCormack - whose teams meet in the promotion Grand Final on Sunday - to take the top coaching award outside the Super League.
Aston resumed the role of head coach at the club this year after the departure of Gary Wilkinson following the promotion season. The 40-year-old was not at the ceremony in Leeds on Tuesday - he is on an end-of-season holiday - and the award was collected by assistant coach Darren 'Rocky' Turner.
"It's a great award and recognition of the job Mark has done this season," said and an Eagles spokesman. "At the start of the season the club was many peoples' favourite to go back down but Mark and all the people at the club have proved then wrong."
Winger Danny Mills - who rejoined Eagles from Doncaster early in the season - was named in the National League One 'dream team'.
London Skolars' Latham Tawhai was named League Two coach of the year ahead of Celtic Crusaders boss John Dixon. Sunday's finalists were both among the honours, with Widnes stand-off Denis Moran named player of the year and Castleford scrum-half Danny Brough collecting the RLPA/GMB players' player-of-the-year award. Moran beat his Vikings team-mate Oliver Wilkes and Halifax hooker Sean Penkywicz to the award.
Celtic Crusaders full-back Tony Duggan won the League Two player-of-the-year award. Young players of the year were Castleford's Joe Westerman and Workington's Shaun Lunt.
Gary Hewer was named referee of the year and the Neil Whittaker Trophy went to Dave Merrick.
Rugby League Conference National award winners were - Player of the year: Bart Thomsen (Featherstone Lions); young player: Scott Green (Dewsbury Celtic); coach: Paul Cook (Bramley).