The 2018 Steve Prescott Man of Steel was announced on Monday night, with St Helens’ Ben Barba taking home the award.
The talented fullback had a sensational first half of the season, and saw off competition from John Bateman and team-mate James Roby to claim the games most prestigious individual honour.
But as usual in an award voted for by the players, some of them didn’t take it seriously, voting for what they presumably saw as “banter” or “a laugh”, which doesn’t exactly sit well given the great man the award is named after.
Here’s a list of things we learned from the Man of Steel voting.
Barba – was it deserved?
Well the amount of tries and try assists he got suggests yes. The Australian fullback, who is set for North Queensland Cowboys next season, was a joy to watch at his best. Of course he has a defensive highlights reel he won’t want to look back on, but in attack he was untouchable for large parts of the year. The stick Barba got though was weird. We complain we don’t get names like that from the NRL, then we turn on the one player that raises the profile of rugby league on these shores. The logic there is just weird.
Luke Thompson – unlucky to miss out?
One player who was unlucky to miss out on the Man of Steel shortlist was Luke Thompson. The St Helens prop was outstanding all season. He was the most intimidating prop in the league and made the most impact. For a 23-year-old he was nothing short of brilliant. It’s not naive to say he’ll probably win the award in the future.
Take it seriously fellas
This is where it gets sinister. Some of the votes where just a mockery of the award.
Lets start with Castleford. Alex Foster voted for Robbie Mulhern and Ash Handley, whilst the Catalans players were still presumably intoxicated from their Wembley heroics when they put their votes in. Check this out.
Hull FC’s Albert Kelly, despite playing only half of the season, got a vote, whilst Hakim Miloudi, who played a similar amount of games, was mentioned five times. It gets worse though, players like Greg Burke, Krisnan Inu, Jake Bibby and Romain Navarette were all voted for. Comical.
What other Hull FC players got a vote?
Amongst Hakim Miloudi and Albert Kelly, some other Hull FC players got Man of Steel votes. Leeds prop Nathaniel Peteru voted for Carlos Tuimavave. Ashton Golding and Scott Grix both voted for Jake Connor. Rob Fairclough voted for Jez Litten. Even with our Black and White goggles on, you have to question the severity of some of those choices.
At least Hull FC players took it seriously
Perhaps it was given that Danny Houghton was Man of Steel two years ago, or that the award is named after former Hull FC player Steve Prescott, but at least the Airlie Bird lads showed some common sense in voting.
Players like Ben Barba, James Roby, Daryl Clark, Bill Tupou, Tony Gigot, and John Bateman all featured regularly. The most sinister vote was for Danny Richardson by Lewis Bienek.
Hoping on the banter bus
Rovers back rower Danny Addy got a vote, despite missing the entire season through injury. Come on.
Nick Scruton’s three choices were Ben Westwood, Jamie Ellis and Anthony Mullally. Wow.
Toby King’s three choices were Lewis Senior, Jake Trueman and Sam Wilde. Rolls eyes.
Ryan Lannon voted for Jake Shorrocks. Joey Lussick voted for Jon Wilkin. Just stop it now.
In some cases it really is votes for the boys. But then again that’s how Ralph Rimmer got his new job. Ironic.
For the full list of votes, click here
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