Friday 8th of September saw the awards night for the players and coaching staff of London Broncos U19 Academy.
Following a successful season, which saw the side finish 8th in the RFL Academy League, the players and staff made their way into the heart of Ealing for an evening of recognition for the efforts made throughout the 2017 campaign.
The London Broncos Supporters Association, who sponsor the under 19 side, were on hand to present the awards with Secretary, Steve Newcombe, alongside first team captain Daniel Harrison.
First up was the award for Most Improved Player which had proven to be a difficult choice. The award went to 17 year old Khush Akhtar. Academy head coach, Jamie Langley, said “We have had some really strong contenders for the Most Improved award this year, although one player stood out just ahead of the rest. Khush has had to overcome a lot of adversity this year balancing a high level educational programme, long commutes and transitioning to the tough programme that we run here. Not only has he shown high levels of grit and mental fortitude, he has also developed his tactical and technical skills to an impressive level.”
Next was the award for Players Player of the Year. The players had all had their say and the winner turned out to be a very popular choice. Third place went to Gideon Boafa, second place to Matt Davies but the award went to Jacob Ogden. This was Jacobs last season with the academy side and he has now signed a contract to be part of the first team for the 2018 season. Jamie Langley said, “The Players Player award is always a prestigious award to receive as it’s voted for by your fellow teammates. The three players that were in the running have all performed superbly for the team this season. Jacob’s performances have been outstanding all year and he has fully committed himself to being better every day. I’m really excited to see him progress at the next level in the 2018 season.”
Clubman of the Year was next and the award, won last year by Alfie Lawrence, went to a man who had driven hundreds of miles this season to follow, watch and encourage the boys from the touchline of many grounds around the country. Keith Butler is not only a parent, Rob Butlers father, but a stalwart of London Broncos Academy football.
Jamie Langley had this to say of the ever present Keith, “It was a pleasure to present Keith with the Clubman of the year award this year. He has never missed a game home or away over the last three seasons, covering an unimaginable amount of miles supporting the lads. Keith kindly gives up his time every game day as the teams unofficial photographer which I know the payers really appreciate.”
Finally the last award of the evening and we had arrived at Player of the Year. The winner and Academy Player of the Year went to Rob Butler.
Jamie Langley told us, “Rob was fully deserving of the Player Of The Year award this year. In order for a team to develop and grow, at some point you have to hand the reigns over to the players and they must be the ones that drive the standards and culture. Of course you can only do this if you have the right leaders within the group and as captain, Rob has been fantastic all year in driving the team physically and mentally.”
LBSA Secretary Steve Newcombe said, “Since our foundation in 2014 we have been committed to supporting the Broncos however we can, and we’re extremely proud that our joint commitment has led to the LBSA being Academy sponsors in 2016 and 2017.
I had the great pleasure of presenting Player Awards for the Academy , and I was impressed by the passion and togetherness shown in that room. We’ve been lucky in 2017 that we have had many double headers meaning we’ve been able to see our Academy in action on match days. Their open style of play and commitment to each other is evident, and this grew throughout the season. Watching their determination when defending their own line made me very proud of what Jamie and his team are achieving.
We intend to renew our partnership with the Broncos with Academy sponsorship for 2018 and hopefully beyond, as we seek to deepen the supporters’ role in this great Club.”