The Man Of Steel award is always given to the best player of the Super League season. The favourites this year are Wigan pair George Williams (10/1) and John Bateman (12/1) with England internationals Zak Hardaker, Chris Hill and Luke Gale all towards the top. However, I have compiled a list of five players who have the talent to win the award but are outsiders:
Arguably the most talented player in super league, Tommy Leuluai has re-joined Wigan after a stint with the New Zealand Warriors. He has returned for 2017 for his wife who is from Wigan. He started at stand off for New Zealand in the recent four nations and it has been a very long time since super league has attracted a top class half back. He will bring creativity, control and skill to Shaun Wane’s side and will form an exciting partnership with George Williams. Surprisingly, he is 25/1 with SkyBet to win the man of steel. If he can stay fit then who knows what effect he will have on reigning super league champions.
Full back Lomax revitalised St.Helens’ season when he returned on the 22nd April against the Leeds Rhinos at the now named ‘Totally Wicked Stadium”. Lomax scored two tries that night and it signalled the start of a good run for Saints that lasted until the Super 8’s. Lomax excelled once back to his best and it was enough for him to secure a place in Wayne Bennett’s England squad. Since returning from his injury, He was arguably one of the best backs in the league. He is 28/1 for the man of steel award and only a fool would rule him out of the running!
Current man of steel Danny Houghton was by far the best player in super league last year. He made an exceptional 1289 tackles in 34 appearances for the Airlie Birds, which averages around 38 tackles per match, which shows his consistently. Houghton excelled alongside a brilliant Hull FC side under Lee Radford but despite this his form didn’t warrant an England call up with Josh Hodgson and Daryl Clark taking the hooking roles. He is 33/1 to win the man of steel award once again.
Just like Houghton, Shaul’s impressive form wasn’t enough to get him an England call up. And this was mainly due to Jonny Lomax’s late season form. He scored 16 tries for Hull and was named the best full back in super league after his inclusion in the super league dream team. Despite his top form last season, he is priced at 66/1 with SkyBet to win the main award. Surely winning the man of steel would guarantee him an England spot? But as we know it didn’t get Danny Houghton in the squad!
He wasn’t at his best last season but you can’t deny the talent that Watkins has. He is an England regular at centre and was exceptional in Leeds’ treble winning side of 2015.He struggled to replicate this form last year but despite this he was still a standout player for the Rhinos. But however, unlike a lot of the England squad he didn’t impress in the four nations. So due to this form he is 80/1 to win man of steel that is surprising considering he scored 18 tries for Leeds last year and 19 appearances for his country. Still only 25, Watkins could easily discover his top form and win the big award at the end of the year!
*All odds with SkyBet.com*