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Micky Higham, Stefan Ratchford and Simon Grix among Warrington Wolves' end-of-season award winners
10:01pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in Wolves
AWARDS have tonight been handed out to Warrington Wolves’ 2013 top performers.
At an emotional end-of-season ceremony staged at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Micky Higham scooped two titles while there was recognition for Stefan Ratchford, Simon Grix, Tyrone McCarthy, Jacque Peet and Nicola Bell too.
Higham’s consistency at hooker has been rewarded with the player of the year prize.
Having played an impact role off the bench in past years – with the starting role previously going to Michael Monaghan or Jon Clarke in the main - his probing runs and terrier-like defence have kept Wolves on the front foot for much of this season.
The 32-year-old former St Helens and Wigan number nine with England international experience, tipped by teammate Joel Monaghan recently as a ‘Man of Steel’ contender this term, has also received the Vice Presidents’ Award.
Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby Smith paid tribute, saying: “I have watched this guy for most of his career and he has always been an outstanding player, but he is far more than that now.
“He has sat behind some very good players and now he is the starter. I am very proud to be passing the award to Micky Higham.”
And the proud hooker responded with a smile: “Me and Tony have a love/hate relationship - he loves me and I hate him. But I’m picking this up on behalf of all the lads.”
Ratchford was named players’ player of the year.
It caps an impressive second season with Wolves for the 25-year-old England international, who has shown his versatility in starring at half back, in the centres and at full back at various stages of a Super League campaign that Wolves will end in a top-three position.
He has also taken on goal-kicking responsibilities when Brett Hodgson has been absent or nursing injuries.
Another player with utility qualities, Simon Grix, has been recognised for his efforts.
Grix, who has represented Wolves in the back row, in the centres and at half back, has walked away with the Supporters’ Trust award.
The under 19s player of the year honour has gone to back rower Jacque Peet, a former Golborne Parkside junior.
Club person of the year has been revealed as Nicola Bell, while 25-year-old Ireland international forward Tyrone McCathy collected the Warrington Wolves Foundation Community Award.
Although there are two rounds of Super League and the play-offs still to come, it has also been a night for heartfelt official goodbyes.
Skipper Adrian Morley will be among those departing at the end of the season.
He has played such a significant part in Wolves’ success under Smith, being the captain to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley three times in four years.
Morley, who joins his hometown club Salford Red Devils next season, said: “The club and town have taken me as one of their own and I have been very proud to be your captain.”
Warringtonian Mike Cooper, who has come through the club’s academy ranks, will try his hand Down Under in the NRL with St George Illawarra next year.
He said: “I know how much the team means to the town. We’ve been through some dark times but I have been very thankful to be here.”
And Garreth Carvell will be moving on to Bradford Bulls next term.
He said: “I have loved every second of being here. It has been fantastic and I am sad to go. But there is still lots to do.”
Wolves visit St Helens on Friday aiming to gain two points and strengthen their chances of finishing second as they bid for a second successive Grand Final appearance and ultimately being crowned champions for the first time since 1955.
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