THE Steve Prescott Man of Steel award is the most prestigious individual award that a Super League player can win.
Given to the player that is said to have had the biggest impact on their team throughout the top flight, 2022 saw Salford Red Devils star Brodie Croft scoop up the accolade following a stellar season under Paul Rowley.
But, who could five candidates be for the award in 2023?
Bevan French – Wigan Warriors
Locked in under a new deal at the DW Stadium, Bevan French is arguably one of the most exciting players Super League has ever seen. Though his form was devastating in 2022, most of the season was dominated by questions over his future. With his immediate and long-term future sorted, watch French thrive even more in 2023.
Edwin Ipape – Leigh Leopards
It is still quite ridiculous how Edwin Ipape was never picked up by an NRL side before the Leigh Leopards swooped last season. The hooker destroyed defences in the Championship, taking that brilliant form into the World Cup where he performed superbly for Papua New Guinea. Those performances have left NRL and Super League clubs on red alert, but Leigh struck gold by signing the hooker up to a new long-term deal during 2022. Ipape is at the heart of everything the Leopards do well so look out for exciting style of play in 2023.
George Williams – Warrington Wolves
It’s fair to say that George Williams didn’t enjoy the best of seasons in 2022. With the Warrington Wolves finishing second bottom, the former Wigan halfback struggled to hit the form that had earned him a move to the NRL with the Canberra Raiders. However, his brilliance during the World Cup has confirmed just how talented Williams is. And with head coach Daryl Powell rebuilding the Warrington squad for 2023, Williams is likely to be at the centre of that improvement.
Jack Welsby – St Helens
Nominated in 2022, Jack Welsby has what it takes to go one better in 2023. People forget that the utility man is still only 21 years of age, and, when considering that he has played almost 100 games in a St Helens shirt, that is some remarkable feat. With Lewis Dodd out injured for most of last season, Welsby took on the mantle, putting in some superb performances to win Young Player of the Year. Now he has been backed to help Saints make it five in a row in 2023.
Jake Clifford – Hull FC
It’s an outside shot, but Jake Clifford has the talent and skill to rip Super League apart in 2023. Just 24 years of age and with 67 NRL appearances under his belt, the Hull FC signing will likely be a breath of fresh air at the MKM Stadium following a difficult two years under Brett Hodgson. With Tony Smith as his head coach, Clifford is being backed to take Super. League by storm next season and replicate exactly what Brodie Croft did at the Salford Red Devils in 2022.