NEWHEY lad Matty Lees is celebrating after winning Super League’s Young Player of the Year award.However, the forward was forced to watch as his St Helens side lifted the Grand Final trophy after suffering a serious stomach injury.
Lees, who played junior rugby at the Rochdale Mayfield club, saw off stern competition to lift the honour at an awards ceremony at Salford’s Lowry Theatre.
The 21-year-old would have played in Saints’ 23-6 triumph over Salford Red Devils had he not suffered the problem in a Super League match against Leeds.
His form was also that good, he would have made the Great Britain squad that is touring for Tests against Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
But Lees’ focus is getting back fit for next season and making sure he is over what could have been a very serious problem.
“I’m made up,” he said. “There’s a lot of good young kids coming through.
“I’m just improving a little bit every day. It’s still been frustrating but it’s getting there.
“Now I’m looking forward to working with the staff in the off-season and hopefully I can get strong for next year.
“And It’s good to know what I’ve done this year would’ve been good enough to get me in that squad, even if it is a bit like, ‘Here’s what you could’ve won’.”