THE Press Player of the Year leaderboard has new front-runners – one of them being the new Player of the Month.

Player/assistant-coach Mark Applegarth’s improving form has seen him voted our top man for June and the three bonus Player of the Year points it earns him lifts him to the joint-top of the tree as he seeks a second annual accolade having won The Press main prize back in 2009.

He has a host of challengers, though, not least fellow prop Jack Aldous, who is seeking a hat-trick of Press Player of the Year gongs and likewise has shot up the standings to join him in first place.

And there’s Josh Tonks too, whose hard-running has seen him draw level at the summit, too.

Applegarth’s June award got the thumbs up from head coach James Ford.

“He’s played well,” said Ford. “He’s played big minutes in a number of fixtures and done some really pleasing things in both attack and defence.

“His passing game has come on, and his energy in defence has never been in question.”

June took in the wins against Coventry, Rochdale, Hunslet, Oxford and Gloucestershire All Golds, with Applegarth the man of the match against Oxford and earning high player ratings in the others, barring the All Golds match which he sat out.

The veteran front-runner was also our third-best rated player in last week’s defeat at Toulouse, which earned him one player of the year point.

The man of the match, who gets three points, was skipper Aldous, while on-loan winger Tommy Saxton was our second-best performer (2pts) and gets onto the leaderboard.

Both Applegarth and Aldous leapfrogged rivals high up the table, including long-time leader Harry Carter.

In the previous week’s win over Gloucestershire All Golds, Harry Tyson-Wilson was our top man (3pts) after his XX-point haul, while second-row Tonks was our second-best, with the two points he gets seeing him join Applegarth and Aldous in joint-first.

On-loan Adam Robinson was our third-best (1pt), thus gaining reward in both his first two outings for the club.

The Press Player of the Year leaderboard: Carter 12pts, E Smith 11, Tonks 13, Aldous 13, Applegarth 13, Wilkinson 9, Brining 8, Presley 6, Nicklas 6, Spiers 5, Morland 5, Emmett 5, Turner 4, B Dent 3, Crowther 3, Craig 3, Robinson 3, Tyson-Wilson 3, Buchanan 2, Saxton 2, Mallinder 1, Divorty 1, A Dent 1.