Football’s Premier League will break a pledge that all of its stadiums would be accessible to disabled football fans by next August, despite its clubs spending more than a billion pounds on player transfers this summer.The Premier League, the governing body for the top 20 club sides in England and Wales, delivered a high-profile pledge last year that every one of its members would meet strict access standards by August 2017.But peers heard last week that seven Premier League clubs were set to break the pledge to meet standards laid out in guidance 12 years ago in The Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG).ASG includes guidelines on car parking, accessible information, the minimum number of wheelchair spaces for spectators, location of viewing areas for disabled supporters, and staff training.And today (Thursday), the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) revealed that the Premier League had acknowledged in meetings that many clubs would miss the August deadline.Lord [Chris] Holmes, EHRC’s disability commissioner and himself a retired Paralympian, said: “All clubs agreed to make the minimum recommended improvements for disabled fans over two years.“We are now at half-time, and for many teams, the performance is simply unacceptable.“Football teams are legally obliged under the Equality Act to ensure disabled fans are not disadvantaged.“Where it is found that little or no progress has been made toward improving accessibility, we will consider using all our strong legal powers to ensure compliance; all options are on the table.“We will be writing to each club to ensure they do not go back on their commitment given last year, and we will be receiving a report every six months from the Premier League on progress being made.”He added: “The English Premier League is the richest league in the world; in a year when club signings are reaching stratospheric levels, Premiership clubs simply cannot continue to leave disabled fans by the sidelines.”Joyce Cook, chair of the disabled supporters’ charity Level Playing Field, said there had been improvements by some clubs.She said: “Just like last season on the pitch, champions Leicester City are leading the way, while many other teams such as Manchester United have shown clear commitment towards reaching the ASG standards of accessibility by next year.”But she told Disability News Service (DNS): “It is quite simply time for Premier League clubs to do the right thing by its disabled fans.“You made us a promise and we are now counting on you to stay true to your words.“All we want is the right to follow the game we love – surely that is not too much to ask of some of the richest clubs in the world.”The Premier League’s promise to act on access – following a series of embarrassing media reports into the discrimination faced by disabled supporters – was welcomed last year as a “huge achievement” by the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson.The Premier League also promised to deliver a progress report to the government by July this year.But Home Office minister Baroness Williams admitted last week that the government was “disappointed” by the progress report it had now received from the Premier League and would be asking for “a far more detailed report, giving a club-by-club breakdown”.Tomlinson, who has since been sacked, had promised that the government would publish the report.This week, nearly two months after the report was sent to his successor, Penny Mordaunt, the Department for Work and Pensions said it did not yet have a publication date and “can’t yet comment on the contents”.The Labour peer Lord Faulkner, LPF vice-president, has led parliamentary efforts to improve access to sporting events.He said he had been told that the progress report “says very little and contains no detail about the real progress at each club”.He told fellow peers last week: “The excuses being put forward by clubs as to why they will not meet this are, frankly, unacceptable.”He was particularly critical of three Premier League clubs: Liverpool, Watford and Crystal Palace.Last weekend, Liverpool opened its new main stand, which it says is “one of the largest all seater single stands in European football” and features “premium facilities for fans inside the stand”.But Lord Faulkner said the club “seems far more interested in providing general hospitality places than in installing sufficient disabled fans’ seats to comply with football’s own minimum standards”.He said Watford “seems to be removing disabled fans’ seats at a time when we should be seeing an increase”, while Crystal Palace “believes that it needs only to come up with a plan by August 2017”, rather than comply with the access guidelines.He said: “It is more than 20 years since the introduction of [the Disability Discrimination Act]: it is law that they are required to provide that accommodation, and it is disgraceful that they have not done so.”And he said it was “clear that the Premier League appears to have no intention to penalise or sanction clubs that do not meet the pledge”.Cook said today that some of the most “shocking” concerns were around the availability of wheelchair-accessible seating at West Ham United, even though the club has this season moved into the stadium which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, and athletics, at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was widely-praised at the time for its access.She added: “With the Paralympic Games taking place currently in Rio, how can we talk of the positive legacy of London 2012 for disabled people in the UK when even the Olympic Stadium will no longer be fully accessible? It truly beggars belief.”A Premier League spokesman told DNS that the report it sent to the government “gave a general progress update without naming individual clubs”.He said: “We are not currently able to say what the situation will be in 11 months’ time.“Clubs are aware of the commitments they made and are working hard to improve disabled access in a variety of ways.“Clubs are working hard to improve their disabled access provisions at stadia and will continue to do so in the coming months and years.”When asked whether the Premier League would punish clubs that did not meet the pledge, he said: “We are not able to second guess what the position will be in August 2017.“Each club’s situation will be carefully considered at that time.”A spokesman for Watford said: “Watford Football Club is very confident in its ability to be fully compliant with the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017.“The club has worked and continues to work very hard to ensure that its stadium facilities can be enjoyed by all supporters visiting Vicarage Road.“We are fully focused upon delivering our part of the Premier League’s public commitment.”A Crystal Palace spokeswoman said: “Crystal Palace Football Club are fully aware of their obligations to meet the requirements of the Accessible Stadia Guide (ASG) and the deadline of August 2017. “The club has met with architects, is working diligently on all aspects of the ASG and will continue to do so over the coming months. “We have recently appointed a disability liaison officer who is maintaining regular contact with [the club’s disabled supporters’ association] and Level Playing Field and will work closely with them on this matter.”West Ham United and Liverpool had not commented by 11am today (15 September).15 September 2016
Work and pensions ministers have refused to explain why plans for new social security legislation were dropped from last week’s Queen’s speech.Disability News Service reported last week how a Tory election promise to “dismantle” the work capability assessment (WCA) through new legislation appeared to have been abandoned when it failed to appear in the Queen’s speech, which covered legislation that will be introduced over the next two years.The minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, had told a national disability hustings event a few days before the general election that a Conservative government would “legislate to reform the work capability assessment”, which “treats people like they are part of a sausage factory”.And she said that ministers had “managed to get into the manifesto a legislative commitment to dismantle the work capability assessment”.The manifesto did not mention replacing the WCA but it did promise that a Conservative government would “legislate to give unemployed disabled claimants or those with a health condition personalised and tailored employment support”.A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman denied this week that the failure to include a social security bill in the Queen’s speech meant ministers had abandoned its reforms.She said: “We have comprehensively consulted on reforms to the work capability assessment as part of the Improving Lives: Work, Health and Disability Green Paper, and have committed to introducing more personalised and tailored support to help people stay in work and the unemployed to return to work.”She added: “We remain strongly committed to help people with disabilities and health conditions get into and stay in work and are considering next steps in response to the green paper.”When asked why the commitment to new legislation was missing from the Queen’s speech, she said: “We don’t take decisions on the content of the Queen’s speech.“As I’ve said below, we have committed to introducing more personalised and tailored support to help people stay in work, and the unemployed to return to work.”Asked if she could ask the relevant ministers – or their special advisers – why the bill had not appeared in the Queen’s speech, she said the press office had “nothing further to add”.
Struggling high street businesses need to “wake up” to the need to communicate with disabled people and their potential £200 billion spending power, according to the founder of an accessibility information website.Dr Gregory Burke told Disability News Service that he still sees many of the same physical access barriers in high streets that he faced as a wheelchair-user when he launched DisabledGo 18 years ago, and that he believes disabled people’s quality of life has probably fallen during that time.In the two decades since he launched the business, it has grown to the point where it has 60 employees and is used by more than 1.5 million people each year to plan a visit or trip by checking detailed accessibility information on venues such as cafes, hospitals and cinemas throughout the UK.Burke (pictured) was speaking this week as DisabledGo launched a new website and mobile phone app and announced that it was changing its name to AccessAble*.In a survey released to mark the launch, 99 per cent of the disabled people and carers questioned said it was important to know about accessibility before visiting somewhere new, while almost as many (98 per cent) said they would search for accessibility information in advance.But only 14 per cent of people said they found the access information they were looking for and 80 per cent said they found the information they did track down to be inaccurate.Burke says he was still shocked by how little attention businesses paid to providing good access information about their services.He says: “What frustrates me the most is that businesses are resistant to communicating with a market worth £200 billion a year.“With high streets struggling, you would think most businesses would want to tap into that.“Businesses need to wake up. The disability market has always been here, but businesses need to wake up to it.”Burke started DisabledGo in 2000 after spending several years in hospital, rehabilitation and respite after a severe case of encephalitis as a teenager.He says it was only when he emerged after his rehabilitation that he realised that he was disabled. “Trying to access anywhere was fraught with difficulty and frustration.“I’m a pretty confident guy but I found that my social ambit was shrinking, was getting smaller and smaller and I wasn’t going out anywhere where I hadn’t been before because I couldn’t trust what the access was like.“If I did try somewhere new and it didn’t work out, which almost invariably it didn’t, that experience would eat in at me and eat at my confidence, and I was becoming more and more a hostage in my own home.”It was these experiences that motivated him to start DisabledGo.For the first couple of years, he travelled the country, listening to disabled people as part of a national consultation exercise, “asking why we were not more visible in society and in education and why we weren’t down the pub more.”What he was told was that society was generally inaccessible, but that there were many places that were accessible to some disabled people, if those disabled people could only find out about them.Burke says that listening to disabled people in this way has been at the core of DisabledGo’s success, with local steering groups set up whenever it produces an area guide “so local people can feed into what we’re doing all the time”.Nine years ago, he decided DisabledGo had reached a position where it was “very strong, very robust”, with multi-year contracts with a number of large businesses and organisations and an annual turnover of £2 million, and so he decided “to become a barrister and see if I can help people in a different way”.After just three years’ training, he was called to the bar and stepped down as chief executive of DisabledGo.He is now head of employment and discrimination at Seven Bedford Row, a leading barristers’ chambers in London.If he had one request of government, he says, it would be to set up an inspectorate to ensure businesses comply with the Equality Act.He says: “The Equality Act is a fantastic piece of legislation – most disabled people don’t realise how powerful it is – but if you have less favourable treatment from a service or a venue you have to bring your own civil claim and that’s exhausting and expensive and time-consuming and can be frightening, although it shouldn’t be frightening at all.“Most people are put off by it, so the government should recognise that just as we have a health and safety inspectorate, hygiene inspectorates and things like that, we should have an access inspectorate too.”Burke believes that disabled people’s “quality of life index” would “show a downward trend” 18 years on from the launch of DisabledGo, following years of cuts to state support and media reporting of “benefit cheats”, which he believes has had “a hugely detrimental impact on how society views disabled people”.He says: “To taint disabled people with the brush of a cheat or a scrounger is just plain wrong.”The AccessAble survey found that less than two-fifths (37 per cent) of the 845 disabled people and carers questioned thought that public attitudes to disability and access had improved in the last five years.But one thing that has changed disabled people’s lives for the better since 2000 is technology, he says, which had “always been a friend to disabled people”.He hopes that AccessAble’s new app will help disabled people who find that acquiring an impairment “can often feel like the death of spontaneity”.The website has always helped disabled people plan their journey before they left home, but the app will tell the user where the nearest accessible venues are when they are already out and about.Burke, who still owns AccessAble, hopes his team will double its reach to three million users a year by 2020.“We need to commit to changing a situation where disabled people and carers are being excluded from everyday life and recognise that access begins online,” he says.“Everyone’s accessibility needs are different. Providing trusted accessibility information should be seen as an integral part of providing a great customer experience.”*AccessAble is a DNS subscriber A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
0% Or this bizarrely miniscule studio condo on 26th street that is being marketed for about half a million dollars. Yes, space is expensive. Yes, it makes sense I guess to have micro-units for sale as well as for rent. And sure, I guess if I’m going to sleep with my head basically in the kitchen, I’d rather wake up to the sparkle of stainless steel appliances and marble countertops than a formica cockroach farm. But did this thing really need a fireplace? That almost feels insulting. There’s even a painting of Charlie Chaplin hanging above it. They know this is a joke. You know what’s not a joke? Frogs moving into the Mission and 22nd fire site, now a sad pit filled with rainwater. That’s really happening, if aural evidence submitted to Uptown Almanac by a tipster is to be believed. I admit to a guffaw about that, but the sobering, bizarre reality is that 60something people lost their home or business in that fire and are now stuck in limbo while the place is empty and full of frogs. That limbo does not show any signs of letting up, because as SocketSite reports, the lot is being marketed again. We’ve been waiting to see for a while whether this site will get sold, but it seems like it wasn’t necessarily actively seeking a buyer for a while. Now it is, with the caveat that new development is “subject to community participation.” That means quite a bit: Tenants technically have the right to return once units are rebuilt, and at more or less their same rent (perhaps with passthroughs of major reconstruction costs). Anything other than a rebuild is likely to be met with serious pushback.“Reconstruction?” you might ask, “there is nothing to re-construct, it’s a hole in the ground!” Maybe, but the city’s demolition order only goes to the ground level, which makes it technically an “alteration” order. That means that whatever gets built there is theoretically the same building, which gives the tenants the right to return. There are ways to get around this, including simply waiting for the tenants to give up and move on. But the city and nonprofits are watching what happens there very carefully – including MEDA, which is still interested in buying the property.Meanwhile, on the streets outside the amphibian enclave, robot cars glide through the streets of the Mission, a human in the driver’s seat with hands gently upturned under the steering wheel, as if invoking the self-driving gods to not let this thing run any red lights. If you read Elizabeth Creely’s observations of these cars being tested and were curious what goes on inside them, well, here’s your chance to go for a virtual ride.Let’s conclude with a break from the bizarre: I’d like to recommend that anyone who reads this column also read this Medium piece from Erin Reeves, who works with the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO, affectionately pronounced “choo-choo”). It’s a meditation on the NIMBY-vs.-YIMBY divide that seems to dominate the conversation around housing, in which Reeves claims to be neither. I would hazard a guess that a lot of people align themselves with neither “build everything and build it faster!” zeal nor with “don’t block my view” obstructionism. This essay doesn’t necessarily cover all the bases. But it’s an interesting starting point. Have a look. Developments in Development is a weekly column recapping real estate, business, planning, zoning and construction news.For all the hubbub about how everyone wants to live here and the influx of newcomers, San Francisco got a pretty underwhelming ranking in the US News & World Report’s ranking of cities. As Curbed reports, San Francisco’s high crime rates, lower scoring schools, and crappy commutes have added up to push it down to 16th place nationwide, which wouldn’t be so bad except for the part where San Jose is in third. Ouch.While everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion about which city is the best, I have to say that the housing and development items that crossed my radar this week are absurd to a 16th-place-worthy degree.Take, for example, the fact that while SocketSite reports that San Francisco asking rents for apartments have come back down to 2014 levels, that’s still a weighted average of $4,100 a month (remember these estimates vary from study to study so if you remember something closer to $3,000 a month that might have been calculated differently). Tags: development • Developments in Development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%
Tags: crimes • gangs • police Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Dolores Park, numerous SFPD gang and narcotics officers say, is the territory of the “Dolores Park Locals,” which they characterize as a Sureño clique. Over the past year, police say they have documented increased gang graffiti in the park; violence has flared up and tensions have been simmering (cops summed up other recent incidents, such as a May mob attack, as cases in which “outsiders” wandered into locals’ territory).“It’s, like, the ebb and flow, man,” said one veteran Mission cop. “There’s a lot, and then there’s not. Or maybe it’s the same amount of guys and they’ve just got somebody pushing a hard line up there.”While much of the purported graffiti has been of the MS-13 variety, that’s not who our sources thought was responsible for this month’s violence. Who shot whom in an ongoing investigation isn’t something police are in the habit of talking too much about, but one source did state he believes the shooting was the work of “young Norteños trying to make a name for themselves.” He adds, reassuringly, “I haven’t heard it’s a war yet. I’m not hearing names and stuff yet.”Cops who work the park candidly say that, beyond serving as “a visual deterrent,” they don’t have any advanced notions of how to quell the next daylight shooting. If our sources are correct, the Aug. 4 incident — along with others preceding it — was likely not explicitly tied to drugs. In the past, however, that’s the hammer the police would have used to crack down on park mayhem — regardless of the cause.Will this be happening in Dolores Park now? Laughter. Maniacal laughter. “Are you really going to go up and do a buy-bust in Dolores Park — for weed? In 2017?” asks a veteran Mission cop. More laughter. “Weed is pretty much legal now.” (And, next year, you can do away with the “pretty much.”)Responding to violent crime (and what appears to be directed gang violence) by engaging in a shotgun approach against pot dealers was the cops’ go-to strategy for decades. But the utter ridiculousness of even considering such a move in present-day Dolores Park — which could sweep up vast numbers of minor criminals and non-criminals and bearded men pushing Zelda and Brooklyn on the swings — reveals how problematic it always was.Cracking the underlying causes for gang violence in the Mission, it turns out, is a lot harder than using weed busts to ensnare gang members. “Our whole industry has not figured out the crime problem yet,” says a member of the police department’s gang task force. “I don’t expect it to anytime soon.” Instead, he’s hoping for “a little luck” and, maybe, “finding some sort of video.”Doing away with buy-busts, veteran cops complain, is part of a larger trend away from proactive policing. A rich, citywide vein of snitches has been lost, they bemoan. “You wanna know what’s going on in Dolores Park?” postulates a longtime narc. “Go to 19th and San Carlos and jam those guys.” The gang member popped in a buy-bust in the Tenderloin might be the one to roll on his associates in the Mission. And, even without buy-busts, the narc continues, there used to be more of an emphasis on everyday, minor shakedowns — “humbugging ‘em” — in exchange for information. “You don’t even have to arrest them: ‘I’m gonna let you go, but next time, I need something,’” he explains. “It’s like breaking the ice with a woman.” The cops, he sighs, used to be players in this game. Now they’re just scorekeepers. And nobody is getting out ahead of the gangs.As such, the cops’ 2017 Dolores Park strategy will “be like Groundhog Day. You know exactly what they’ll do,” says another longtime narc. “They’ll have a big enforcement plan. You’ll see a ramped-up effort for a month, two months. And then it’s back to business. You can’t sustain it. Cops, at this point, are like firefighters. There’s a big fire at Dolores Park? Go put it out. Monitor it a while. And then, in the future, you and I will be having this same conversation.”Does it make sense for cops to be posted in the park like scarecrows, pushing crime and trouble to the less-beautiful parts of town? Officers rattle off places where shootings and crime are inevitable — Third and Palou, the Tenderloin — but there is not a plan afoot to flood these areas, which have not yet received multimillion-dollar facelifts and are not ideal lolling spots. Why should people in Bayview and the Tenderloin be forced to accept misery and crime as inevitable? Is there a double-standard here?“Of course there is! You need to ask such a question?” scolds a retired Mission cop. But then he points the finger back at us. When gunfire erupts in places where we expect — and accept — gunfire, it’s no big deal. “But if someone with a job and a mortgage and a station wagon gets killed, then it’s a big story.”Cops ambling around Dolores Park will likely reduce incidents, just as an empty CHP car with flashing lights will induce drivers to slow around a curve. But it doesn’t even begin to address the root causes. It’s not designed to.And that’s the problem with reactive policing — and reactive policies and reactive politics and, yes, reactive reporting. You’re only reacting to what you can see. But there are so many things you can’t see, and won’t see. Until it’s too late, and that’s all you can see. This city is, literally, built on that.On Aug. 21, District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will host a community meeting to “discuss public safety with SFPD and other City agencies operating in the park” at 6 p.m., 455 Dolores St. 0% San Francisco is sandwiched between two major earthquake faults. You can’t see them. But that doesn’t mean they’re not there.Some fault lines lie deep beneath the earth. But some are man-made; earlier this month, one of the latter variety ruptured in Dolores Park. A confrontation near the footbridge over the J-Church tracks at 19th St. culminated in a brazen, daylight shooting. Three people were sent to San Francisco General, and scores of men and women lolling in the grass at San Francisco’s premier lolling site dropped their beers and ran like hell.San Francisco, like every city, has built over its past. But, at times, elements of the past come back into full view. And while the spectacular influx of cash into this city — and, specifically, the Mission — has transformed Dolores Park from a scruffy, lawless realm into a verdant DIY biergarten and expensive playground where tattooed, bearded men push Zelda and Brooklyn on the swings, that money hasn’t ameliorated the conditions that once made desperation and crime synonymous with this spot.The very bridge where gunfire broke out on Aug. 4 has, for generations, been known as an outpost for gangs and drugs. Per multiple San Francisco Police Department sources, this attack had everything to do with the former — but little, if anything, to do with the latter.
NATHAN Brown says Friday’s match with Hull FC will be a big occasion for Steve Prescott’s family and the club.Saints take on the Humbersiders in their first home game of the First Utility Super League season and the first leg of the cup named in their former full back’s honour.“Steve did a lot for the town and rugby league, created a lot of hope and inspired people too,” he said. “He gave hope to people in bad situations and what he raised under the circumstances and achieved was amazing.“It will be a special night.”As well as the bridge that links the town to Langtree Park being renamed in a special ceremony from 5.30pm on Friday, the Club will also pay further tributes too.They include a past player guard of honour for his sons Taylor and Koby who are mascots for the game, whilst Steve’s brother Neil will take the matchball onto the Langtree Park pitch.Both teams will also be wearing special commemorative warm up sweatshirts supplied by ISC.And, the Steve Prescott Foundation will hold a bucket collection too with the Club donating £5 from each PRESCOTT 1 shirt printing to the charity in the run up to the match.Until then, Brown is preparing his squad for the match after a good win against Warrington.Hull FC also come into the fixture on the back of victory over Catalan too.“Hull’s game was a little crazy on Friday,” Brown added. “They were in a tough position, then dominated and deserved the victory. They have big men who can carry the ball well and for us to do well we need to be physically good like we were last week against Warrington.“Most sides will improve from week one to week two and Hull had good periods when they clicked and we’d expect them to have more of those. We had a good first half, as did Warrington; we were just a fraction better in some areas but both sides dipped in the second.“Most sides aren’t going to be perfect but will improve going forward.”Brown expects to name the same 19 man squad that featured at Warrington with Richie Beaumont and Mose Masoe still unavailable for selection.Carl Forster (London) and Paul Clough (Widnes) are also out on loan too.Brown added: “Cloughie has been a great servant for Saints and they have been a great fit for each other. He is a good player, a great trainer and will serve Widnes well. With the emergence of Greg Richards, Ant Walker and what we have brought in, competition in the front row is high.“Mose and Richie are progressing well. If he keeps progressing than Mose will be fit to play against Salford, but he won’t have done much with the team so more than likely, if everything goes to plan, he would play against Hull KR.“Richie is around the same time, but possibly a week or two later.”Tickets for Friday’s game now on sale for the clash at the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.
DUE to a batching error a number of junior swaps have been issued to adults by mistake for this Sunday’s Challenge Cup Fourth Cup tie at Huddersfield Giants.If you have the wrong ticket you need to exchange it at our Ticket Office.You will not be admitted to the stadium with the wrong ticket and therefore it is paramount you check them now.If you have had them sent out to you, then please check the tickets when you receive them and call the ticket office on 01744 455 052 if they are incorrect.
The hooker, 32, polled around 40 per cent of the votes, pushing team-mate Ben Barba into second place and Wigan’s John Bateman into third, to win the Raymond Fletcher Memorial Trophy.All three players are on the short-list for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award which will be made on Monday while Tony Gigot, Luke Thompson, Tommy Makinson, Bill Tupou and Danny Richardson also gained votes based on performances throughout the domestic season.“Roby beat off plenty of fierce opposition for the coveted RLWBA award, not least from his own team-mates in a superb St Helens team that has set the standard for the rest to try and attain,” said RLWBA chairman Trevor Hunt.“But in a season where Saints have often made it look easy, Roby has been the rock-solid foundation upon which the opposition have been broken and the tougher games won with his seemingly boundless energy.“He’s had a superb season, following up his magnificent World Cup in 2017, with yet another peerless set of performances for St Helens.”Roby, who has guided Saints to the League Leaders’ Shield and to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final in his first season as captain, said: “I’m made up and a bit surprised to be honest. It’s a great honour to receive an award like this. I’ve never won it before.“I just try to turn up each week and do my job. The way we’ve been playing as a team has obviously helped. We’ve been bringing out the best in each other.”Previous Winners1996: Apollo Perelini (St Helens) 1997: Andy Farrell (Wigan) 1998: Iestyn Harris (Leeds) 1999: Iestyn Harris (Leeds) 2000: Tommy Martyn (St Helens) 2001: Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens) 2002: Adrian Lam (Wigan) 2003: Jamie Peacock (Bradford) 2004: Danny McGuire (Leeds) 2005: Jamie Lyon (St Helens) 2006: Paul Wellens (St Helens) 2007: Trent Barrett (Wigan) 2008: James Graham (St Helens) 2009: Brett Hodgson (Huddersfield) 2010: Pat Richards (Wigan) 2011: Sam Tomkins (Wigan) 2012: Sam Tomkins (Wigan) 2013: Danny Brough (Huddersfield) 2014: Jamie Peacock (Leeds) 2015: Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds) 2016: Gareth Ellis/Danny Houghton (Hull) 2017: Luke Gale (Castleford)
Justin Holbrook makes one change to his squad with James Bentley replacing Jack Ashworth, who continues to get game-time with Leigh Centurions.Justin Holbrook will select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Kevin Naiqama, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Danny Richardson, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Joseph Paulo, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Kyle Amor, 17. Dom Peyroux, 19. Matty Lees, 22. James Bentley, 23. Lachlan Coote.Chris Chester will choose his 17 from:Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Danny Brough, Jordan Crowther, Anthony England, David Fifita, Ryan Hampshire, Justin Horo, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, George King, Danny Kirmond, Craig Kopczak, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Bill Tupou, Kyle Wood,Justin Holbrook makes one change to his squad with James Bentley replacing Jack Ashworth, who continues to get game-time with Leigh Centurions.Justin Holbrook will select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Kevin Naiqama, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Danny Richardson, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 12. Joseph Paulo, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Kyle Amor, 17. Dom Peyroux, 19. Matty Lees, 22. James Bentley, 23. Lachlan Coote.Chris Chester will choose his 17 from:Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Danny Brough, Jordan Crowther, Anthony England, David Fifita, Ryan Hampshire, Justin Horo, Craig Huby, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, George King, Danny Kirmond, Craig Kopczak, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Bill Tupou, Kyle Wood