Clifford named Q-Cup Rookie of the Year

Clifford named Q-Cup Rookie of the Year

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys rising star Jake Clifford has capped off a spectacular 2018 season by claiming the Queensland Cup's Rookie of the Year award at the QRL Gala Awards night.

Clifford was in scintillating touch for Cowboys feeder club the Northern Pride before being called up to make his NRL debut in Round 19 and beat out a hot field to claim the award, including Melbourne Storm young gun Harry Grant, who enjoyed a stellar season with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

The 20-year-old was also one of five finalists for the inaugural Petero Civoniceva Medal, awarded to the Player of the Year in the Queensland Cup.

For Clifford to even be among the finalists is a tremendous achievement considering his season was limited to 15 games due to his NRL promotion.

He joined Townsville Blackhawks playmaker Zach Dockar-Clay, Ipswich prop Nat Neale, Easts Tigers half Billy Walters and Grant as finalists for the award.

Clifford also picked up the Queensland Cup Halfback of the Year award. 

After announcing himself as one of the brightest junior prospects in the country by claiming the 2017 NYC Player of the Year gong, Clifford continued to enhance his reputation during his first season of senior football.

The Tully product led the Queensland Cup point-scoring tally for the majority of the season prior to being called up for his NRL debut and still managed to finish fourth on the leaderboard with 134 points in 15 games.

Clifford continued to shine when called up to first grade to partner retiring Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston in the halves, highlighted by a three try-assist performance against Parramatta in Round 24.

The playmaker returns to the Pride this weekend for their elimination final against the Easts Tigers.