When the Rugby Football League opted to make all players’ votes for the Man of Steel award public for the first time last year, it certainly caused a bit of debate!
There were some unusual choices on there to say the least – and it seems the trend has continued this season.
Of course, we aren’t going to tell the players who and who not to vote for, but there are a handful of picks from some players this season which certainly caught the eye, to say the least. Here’s a look at the most unusual which bucked the majority of the voting trend! The full list of votes can be seen here.
Jason Baitieri (Catalans Dragons) – 1. Joe Philbin, 2. Antoni Maria, 3. Todd Carney
The French international is our first inclusion, with his top vote for the 2017 Man of Steel going to Warrington Wolves’ Joe Philbin. Baitieri also backed that up by voting for two of his former Catalans team-mates, Antoni Maria and Todd Carney, in his top-three too..
Aaron Murphy (Huddersfield Giants) – 1. Anthony Mullally, 2. Scott Grix, 3. Kyle Wood
The Huddersfield winger’s choices certainly stood out as different, but that’s not to say that all three of his picks haven’t had great years. Anthony Mullally, Scott Grix and Kyle Wood have all impressed this year – but they are all former team-mates of Murphy’s during their time with the Giants!
Gene Ormsby – 1. Matty Russell, 2. Daryl Clark, 3. James Roby
One of Ormsby’s picks, James Roby, made the top 10 on the final voting list, so nothing unusual there. But as a former Warrington winger, Ormsby has gone for one of his team-mates, Matty Russell, as his first pick. It was the only vote Russell got in this year’s voting.
Carlos Tuimavave – 1. Dominique Peyroux, 2. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 3. Ben Roberts
The Hull FC centre opted for former New Zealand Warriors team-mate Dominique Peyroux as his first pick in this year’s voting – the only vote Peyroux picked up throughout the whole of the league. His second and third picks, Castleford duo Jesse Sene-Lefao and Ben Roberts, are less surprising, though.
Adam Higson – 1. Anthony Gelling, 2. Danny Richardson, 3. Niall Evalds
Much like many of the other first-choice picks on this list, Adam Higson’s vote for Anthony Gelling was the only one Wigan’s ‘Man of the People’ attracted throughout the whole ballot. Higson’s voting form, in fact, was completely unique – as his votes for Danny Richardson and Niall Evalds in second and third were also the only ones they received.
Theo Fages – 1. Mahe Fonua, 2. Antoni Maria, 3. Romain Navarrete
While St Helens half-back Theo Fages’ first pick, Hull’s Mahe Fonua, finished fourth in the overall voting, his other picks didn’t score quite as highly. Leigh prop Antoni Maria got two votes, one from Fages, while his former Catalans team-mate Romain Navarrete was voted for by Fages and Fages alone!