Keanan Brand Wins Academy Accolade

Keanan Brand Wins Academy Accolade widnesvikings.co.uk
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11th August 2017

Keanan Brand was named the Players’ Player of the Year at the Widnes Vikings Academy 2017 End of Season Dinner.

The talented centre, 18, has been with the Vikings through every stage of its development pathway - joining at 14, as a scholar. He has been in outstanding form at Academy level this season, proving himself to be a player who offers real talent, teamwork and commitment.

 The young star was thrilled to receive the honour from his fellow squad members, saying: “I’m overwhelmed to have been recognised by my teammates. I’ve worked hard and given it my all this year, so I’m really pleased that my peers have acknowledged this.”

“The boys are like family to me and it means a lot that they have put me forward for this award. Being recognised as the Players Player is something you really aspire to, so it feels amazing to receive this honour at such a high level.”

Having played in the 2017 friendly against Warrington Wolves and featured in first team squads, Keanan has his eyes firmly set on making his senior debut and experiencing first team action in 2018.

“I think that I’ve really stepped up this year. It’s been nice to have been in first team 19-man squads on a few occasions and to have had a chance to play in the festive derby, which I took with both hands.

 “The aim now is to continue developing as a player and ultimately to break into the first team. I’m determined to work hard and learn, so I can achieve my dream. Hopefully 2018 will be a big year!”

Keanan credits the environment at the Vikings Academy, and the opportunity to train alongside the first team, as being vital to his development and the progress of his peers.

“What makes us work well as a team is that we’re all so close. It’s fantastic to not only work with your best mates every day, but to also enjoy the quality of coaching that we receive. We also have lots of players we can learn from – I know I have learned a lot from Chris Bridge, for example.”

Keanan recently signed a new two-year deal with the Vikings, and is full of positivity about his future with the Club.

“From being a young kid, all I’ve wanted to do is play Rugby League. To have signed a two-year contract this year shows that I’m on my way to living my dream. I had no hesitation about signing the extension, because it feels like home here and I’m really excited for what we can achieve.”

Academy head coach, Brett Hodgson, reserved special praise for Keanan, as he collected the award, saying: “Keanan works very hard, like all the lads do, so this award is thoroughly deserved. He doesn’t realise how good he can be. His ability to beat people one on one is outstanding - he’s big, he’s strong, he’s fit, he’s fast and he’s defensively excellent.”

“Growing up. this is the award that you want the most - to be recognised by your peers as the person they want to play alongside. Keenan has been unlucky not to have first team experience this year, but there is no doubt people will see this guy in the first team soon.”

Phil Finney, Head of Youth Performance at Widnes Vikings, says: “Keanan has been exceptional this year and has progressed really well.  He joined us as fourteen-year-old with a lot of potential, and through his hard work and the efforts of the staff he is starting to fulfil this. It is always nice to be recognised by the players who you play with and I’m sure this will inspire Keanan to continue to improve over the coming years.”

Keanan Brand is proudly sponsored by Skin Deep Aesthetics. 

Keanan Brand Wins Academy Accolade widnesvikings.co.uk