DONCASTER DONS: Lee scoops top prize for record-breaking season

Award winner: Lee Waterman
Award winner: Lee Waterman
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LEE Waterman is Doncaster Rugby League Club’s 2012 Player of the Year.

The strong-running centre/full-back, who set a new club-record, also picked up the award for finishing the Dons’ top try scorer.

Powerhouse prop Mark Castle lifted the Players’ Player of the Year award.

Hooker Kyle Kesik was judged Forward of the Year with stand-off Paul Cooke winning the Back of the Year award.

The former Super League star still attended the Presentation Evening at the Keepmoat Stadium despite fracturing his kneecap five days earlier.

He received one of the biggest cheers of the night as he made his way on crutches to personally pick up the award.

Utility forward Mike Emmett took home both the Supporters’ Club Player of the Year and Man of Steel awards.

Half-back Craig Fawcett was voted the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Hooker Nathan Powley picked up the Young Player of the Year trophy.

Reflecting on the season, chairman John Scarrow said: “We come to the end of our first three-year plan since Carl (Hall) took over the club and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve achieved beyond our expectations.

“Financially we are sound - it’s not easy - but have managed to show a 44 per cent increase on our average gates over that period and we’ve also achieved promotion to the Championship, which was one of our initial objectives.”

He praised the entertaining rugby served up by the club, who were the top try-scorers in Championship One, and the team spirit engendered within the camp by head coach Tony Miller.

“Tony has been nominated for Coach of the Year in Championship One and hopefully he’ll get his due reward on Tuesday (tonight),” he said. “I think that he has done incredibly well with modest resources.

“I think that there has been a tremendous empathy between the supporters and the team. The supporters are the 18th man and they drive the team on.”

Mr Scarrow wished goal-kicking winger Tom Hodson, who is set to join Featherstone Rovers at the end of the season, well. He also paid a warm tribute to Doncaster-based forward Craig Lawton, who will be retiring at the end of the season.

“Craig has been a fantastic servant to the club and anyone who has known him would echo those sentiments,” he said.

Looking ahead to next season, he said: “The priority is to retain our Championship status and if we can pick up 10 wins then we feel that will allow us to stop up. We will go into the New Year with money in the bank but it will be a tougher environment next year and if the club is to be successful we will have to make sure that we generate the finances to under-pin that success.

“We need to increase gates still further and we should be able to do because we’ll benefit from the eight Yorkshire derbies.”