Chase crowned Man of Steel
Castleford Tigers stand-off Rangi Chase was tonight crowned 2011 Engage Super League Man of Steel.
The 25-year-old collected the sport’s most coveted individual honour at a gala presentation dinner at The Hilton Hotel, Manchester.
Chase was an outstanding figure for Castleford throughout 2011 and has been named in England’s train-on on squad for the Gillette Four Nations against New Zealand, Australia and Wales which starts later this month.
He secured the award, which is decided by a secret ballot of every Super League player, ahead of Wigan Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins and James Roby, the St Helens hooker.
A former Junior Kiwi, Chase joined Castleford from Australian club St George Illawarra in 2009 and last week signed a new contract that will keep him at the Tigers until the end of the 2015 season. He qualifies to play for England under the residency ruling, having lived and worked in the UK for the last three years.
Chase is only the second New Zealander to be named Man of Steel and the first since Dean Bell of Wigan was deemed to be the player who made the biggest impact on the 1992 season.
St Helens were also celebrating this evening after their 21-year-old scrum-half Jonny Lomax was named Engage Super League Young Player of the Year.
Lomax has come of age in the St Helens first team this season and was promoted to England’s Elite Training Squad by England coach Steve McNamara earlier this year.
He beat off stiff competition from team-mate Jamie Foster and Josh Charnley of Wigan Warriors to be named Young Player of the Year.
Catalan Dragons had double cause for celebration after collecting two awards, including the prestigious 2011 Engage Super League Coach of the Year award which was presented to Trent Robinson.
Robinson has overseen a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the Dragons since his appointment at the end of last season, when the French club finished bottom of the table. Under his stewardship Catalan established themselves as the most improved team of the year in 2011, ending the regular season in sixth place and beating Hull KR in the play-offs before bowing out to Wigan.
Their improvement was reflected in activity off the field, which earned Catalan Dragons the title as 2011 Engage Super League Club of the Year, an award which recognises the investment they have made in facilities at Stade Gilbert Brutus, their increased attendance and strong business model.
Leeds Rhinos’ President Harry Jepson OBE was presented with the Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award in recognition of his lifelong involvement in the sport.
Hull Kingston Rovers player Jason Netherton was named 2011 Engage Super League Community Champion of the Year in recognition of his unstinting work with youth and schools groups in East Hull throughout 2011.
Two former Super League players, Sean Long (Wigan, St Helens and Hull FC) and Rob Purdham (London Broncos and Harlequins) were presented with Outstanding Contribution Awards to mark their long service to the competition.