Walker Shortlisted for Rookie Of The Year

Walker Shortlisted for Rookie Of The Year widnesvikings.co.uk
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4th September 2017

Widnes Vikings hooker, Danny Walker, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year Medal.

The Medal recognises players who have made an outstanding impression in their first season in the Super League. The honour is given to players who made fewer than ten Super League appearances at the start of the season. Danny will be aiming to become the first ever Widnes Vikings player to win the accolade.

Walker burst onto the Super League scene at 17, making his debut against Leigh Centurions in March. He has gone on to make nine appearances this year, delivering blistering performances that have seen him stand out as one of the most exciting young players in the Betfred Super League. The eighteen-year-old hooker is a product of Widnes Vikings' Academy system, which is rated as Outstanding by the RFL.

Walker joined the Vikings at fourteen and has represented the Club at every level of its youth pathway. He has also represented England at all youth levels. In July, he signed a new four-year deal, the longest contract the Vikings have ever offered to any player since its return to Super League.

Danny Walker says: “It is overwhelming to learn that I’ve been shortlisted for this award. I never expected to play for the first team at all this year, so I couldn’t have ever imagined anything like this would be possible. It’s a genuine honour to be in the mix with the other nominees, and to be up for an award that some great players have collected.

This give me lots of pride and confidence, but I know that I can’t get too far ahead of myself. Whilst I’m delighted with the nomination, I know that it’s a long career and I still have a lot more to achieve, so I’ve got to stay humble and focussed.

I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, especially the coaching team at Widnes Vikings, who have really invested in my development and given me great opportunities. I’d also like to give a special mention to my family, girlfriend and friends, who have been there for me all the way. I appreciate their support.”

Phil Finney, Head of Youth Performance, says: “This is well deserved recognition for Danny. By his own admission, Danny didn’t expect to get any first-team game time this year. However, from the Club point of view, we always believed that when the chance presented itself, Danny would grab it with both hands and make a big impression.  

As a coaching team, we are really pleased to both see the progress that Danny has made this season, but also that he remains the same humble and ambitious person. Danny illustrates that Widnes Vikings can recruit and develop some of the very best prospects in the game. He serves as a great example to everyone in our system.”

Danny’s success follows fellow Widnes Vikings Academy graduate, Matt Whitley, being shortlisted last year for the Young Player of the Year Award  at the 2016 Man Of Steel Awards.

He is competing alongside Kriss Brining (Salford), Tom Davies (Wigan), Regan Grace (Saints), Liam Marshall (Wigan), Darnell McIntosh (Huddersfield), Danny Richardson (Saints), and Jack Walker (Leeds) for the Medal.

Walker Shortlisted for Rookie Of The Year widnesvikings.co.uk