Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis admits he is flattered to be considered the favourite for this year’s Man of Steel award – but insists you could pick any one of a number of Hull players in 2016.
Some bookmakers have installed Ellis as the favourite for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel, following arguably the 35-year-old’s best season in years.
And while the FC skipper told League Express he’s delighted with how his season has gone so far, he is trying not to be distracted by any talk of individual honours, instead saying there are plenty of deserving candidates elsewhere in Lee Radford’s squad.
“It’s very flattering to be mentioned as a contender,” he said.
“But as my old mentor Jamie Peacock said though, he had a goal to be Man of Steel once and didn’t get it, but he realised certain things are out of your control.
“What you can control is what I focus on and that’s being the best I can be each and every day. That’s something I’ve tried to instil into myself and I’m very pleased with how things are going.
“There’s probably Man of Steel contenders all over our team this year: look at a guy like Danny Houghton. He’s been absolutely incredible for Hull FC this season. It shows that I’m playing well and at 35 that’s really pleasing given where I was 12 months ago when I was staring down the barrel of a lengthy rehab process.”
Ellis was again impressive – albeit in a shorter stint than usual – as Hull won 38-0 at Widnes on Thursday to cement their position at the top of Super League.
That result came just six days on from defeat to Castleford – a result which Ellis admitted he could sense coming.
“I’m really pleased with the response from last week,” he said.
“It was disappointing and there were a few factors which contributed, including the win against Wigan in the semi-final.
“You try to gloss over it but you could sense in the run-up to it that some people were flat following the enormity of the Wigan game. Radders said that was our one free pass and we simply had to get back to business this week.
“The zero is enormous for us. The effort in defence to never give up speaks volumes about the character and endeavour of this group.”
With Radford admitting he has not yet made his mind up on his complete side for Wembley, Ellis believes that the competition for places in the squad for a final spot will bring the best out of everyone in the days leading up to the showpiece event.
“When lads like Jordan Abdull and Dean Hadley have come in they’ve done a great job, and the strength of the squad is one of our big positives I think. Everyone is playing for Wembley places and there are going to be a handful of guys who are disappointed in a fortnight.”