Sheffield Eagles: Instrumental Stringer lands top prize

Award-winning Mitch Stringer feels he has matured under Mark Aston's tutelage this season.
Award-winning Mitch Stringer feels he has matured under Mark Aston's tutelage this season.
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Sheffield Eagles prop forward Mitch Stringer has been voted the top player in the Championship but the club and coach Mark Aston suffered a double disappointment.

The coveted Coach of the Year award went to Doncaster’s Tony Miller with Aston missing out despite leading the Eagles to a third successive Grand Final.

The Eagles also missed out on the Championship Club of the Year with that prize going to Halifax - who finished below them in the league and they beat in the play-off semi-finals.

The awards are voted for by club coaches.

Stringer takes the Player of the Year award after an outstanding season during which he took over as club captain. He’s the first Eagles player to take the award and aims to lead the team to successive Grand Final victories when they face Batley Bulldogs, at Leigh on Sunday.

“It’s good to get the recognition but I don’t care too much about individual awards; I want the team to get something and for us to win the Grand Final,” he said.

“I’ve always been one of the jokers in the squad but this year I’ve been made captain and I’ve had to grow up a little but.”

Stringer, who has played 251 games for the Eagles, took the award ahead of Doncaster’s Paul Cooke and Aaron Brown of Dewsbury Rams.

Miller’s award comes as he ends a 23-year association with Doncaster with Cooke taking over as player-coach next season. He guided Doncaster to sixth place in their first year back in the Championship after clinching promotion in 2012 – when he was named Championship One Coach of the Year.

Aston had looked favourite for the coach award after taking the Eagles to second place in the league, the final of the Northern Rail Cup and the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.

Stringer said before the coaching award was announced that it should be “no contest” adding: “No one has done more than Tubby (Aston) this year; look what this team has achieved.”

Eagles have agreed a new one-year contract with prop forward Eddie Battye.

2013 Kingstone Press Championships Awards:

Championship - Player of the Year: Mitch Stringer (Sheffield Eagles); Young Player of the Year: Ryan Brierley (Leigh); Coach of the Year: Tony Miller (Doncaster); Club of the Year: Halifax.

Championship One - Player of the Year: Jono Smith (North Wales Crusaders); Young Player of the Year: Tyla Hepi (Gloucestershire All Golds); Coach of the Year: Clive Griffiths (North Wales Crusaders); Club of the Year: North Wales Crusaders

Northern Star winner: Andy Jordan (Batley Bulldogs); Referee of the Year: Chris Leatherbarrow; Match Officials Achiever: Mike Woodhead.