Evalds joins Lance Todd Immortals
Posted: Wednesday 21st July 2021 - 6:00 PM
By winning the Lance Todd Trophy in the 2021 Challenge Cup Final, Niall Evalds joins a couple of historic groups of rugby league men.
The Tigers fullback became the 78th player to receive the award, and just the fourth Castleford player in history to win the coveted trophy which is voted for by members of the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association (RLWBA), receiving 18 of the 42 votes cast, five more than nearest challenger.
Evalds follows in the footsteps of some of the most iconic Castleford players ever, Bob Beardmore (1986), Bill Kilbride (1970), and Malcolm Reilly (1969). Niall also became the first man since 2005 to receive the trophy from a losing side, and the tenth man in history to do so too which puts him alongside some of rugby league’s greats such as Frank Whitcombe, Don Fox, and Kevin Sinfield.
The Lance Todd Trophy was introduced in 1946 in tribute to the New Zealander who first came to England to play for Wigan and went on to become a driving force off the field at Salford. He was killed in a road accident during World War II at the age of 59. Lance Todd Trophy recipients were originally given cash with which to purchase their own memento, until in 1956 the Red Devils Association, which represents ex-Salford players, decided to pay for a permanent trophy.
Castleford’s #1 was humbled by winning the Lance Todd Trophy, but it was not the trophy he wanted to take away from Wembley.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s probably something that I’ll look back on and be pretty proud of but at the minute I’m like the rest of the boys, we’re just absolutely gutted,” said Evalds to castlefordtigers.com.
“We have to regroup and make a push for the league now, get ourselves together, and hopefully come out with good performances.
“I think all week we got our preparation spot on; we spoke about how much it means to each of us, and what it meant to the town, the fans, and our families. But credit to Saints, they are a champion side and they proved it second half in hot conditions, it was tough, it was an arm wrestle, and they got the better of us in the end.”
Following back-to-back Challenge Cup Finals for Niall Evalds in 2020 and 2021, he knows how special of an atmosphere it was with fans in the stands at the national stadium.
“I played here last year with no fans, and I didn’t get the big game feel I’ll be honest. Completely different this year, all the boys were excited driving into the stadium and seeing all the fans, you can’t replicate that. As gutted as I am it was a special occasion to play at Wembley and we should all be proud of ourselves.”
When asked if getting to the final with the Tigers made him even hungrier to do it again and go one better, Evalds replied with an emphatic ‘100%’ answer.
“The more you play in these big games, the more you want it. I’ve played in three finals now and unfortunately, I’ve lost all three, I’m desperate to win one. I don’t want to finish my career without winning a trophy and everyone at Cas is the same, we all want to bring one back to Cas. We’re going to push on for the rest of the year in the league and I hope all our fans get behind us and really help us along.”
Proud player sponsors of Niall Evalds, Ergo Real Estate agreed to donate £100 for every Castleford try scored at Wembley, and £200 for every try scored by Niall to The Prince of Wales Hospice. After being named Man of the Match Ergo donated £500 to the Tigers’ official charity partner! The Club would like to thank them for their continued support and wonderful generosity.
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