Double success! Incoming Halifax Panthers head coach Liam Finn and top try scorer Lachlan Walmsley triumph at the Rugby League Awards ceremony
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The incoming coach, a former assistant of the outgoing Simon Grix, impressively guided Dewsbury Rams to the League One title in 2023, as well as to the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, and was recognised at the annual Rugby League Awards presentation at Emirates Old Trafford.
His successful exploits with the Rams this season, in addition to the hometown connection he has to Fax, saw him announced as the new head coach after Grix - recently revealed as the new assistant head coach at Hull FC - informed of his departure after three years in the role part way through the campaign.
Finn told the Halifax Courier after the awards ceremony: “Obviously I am really happy about picking up the award. It’s not what we do it for but it’s a nice pat on the back at the end of the season and a tip of the hat to the group of players that I worked with for the past 12 months who have all been absolutely first class.
“They were a good group of people to work with. I think that is a good starting point for any team - good people and having them around you. Ultimately, it was them who got the job done.
“I am thankful for that group of players. I am moving on but I hope they do well next season as well and they keep most of them together.”
Winger Lachlan Walmsley was also celebrating after being named the Championship’s best player, along with London Broncos’ Dean Parata.
The Scotland international has had another phenomenal season at The Shay, scoring 36 tries as the Panthers agonisingly missed out on a play-off spot, and Finn revealed it will be “hard work” for Fax to maintain his services. He said:
“I think he has shown with his try scoring rates how valuable he is and it will be hard work for us to keep hold of him as a club because I am sure he is turning plenty of heads.
“If we do manage to keep hold of him, it will be absolutely huge for the club and hopefully he continues his upward curve of improvement.”
Other winners on the night included Dewsbury’s Reiss Butterworth winning the League One Player of the Year award, Mike Eccles, head coach of London Broncos, picking up the Championship Coach of the Year award and Wigan Warriors’ Bevan French lifting the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award, while the Burrow Family won the Glen’s Spirit of Super League Award.