Hardaker expected rival to win Man of Steel in 2015

2015 Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner Zak Hardaker has revealed that he didn’t even expect to be named as the winner of this year’s award – saying he thought the other candidates on the shortlist had a better chance.

Hardaker’s form in 2015 saw him crowned the new Man of Steeel after a remarkable year at full-back for the Rhinos, seeing off Leeds teammate Adam Cuthbertson and St Helens prop Alex Walmsley.

And after admitting he was surprised just to be on the shortlist, let alone win it, he thought the form of the other two men on the three-man list would have meant they would have won it.

“I’m pretty speechless and overwhelmed with the achievement and the accolade I got tonight – I really didn’t expect it,” he said on Monday night.

“I was amazed when I got the nomination so to go on and win it and take the extra step is something else. I’ll be pinching myself when I get home; it’s such a big award and some special people have won it.

“Honestly I thought it would be between Alex Walmsley and Adam Cuthbertson, I think they’ve been tremendous all year. Cuthbo has come in from Australia and given a whole new meaning to the prop forward game.

“It’s a new brand of rugby he’s brought over and Leeds have really capitalised on that, and we’ve done really well on the back of what he’s done. St Helens have done really well this year too, sometimes down to Alex Walmsley.”