Given how there are just a handful of rounds left until Super League splits ahead of the second part of the season, we thought it was an appropriate time to glance forward with one eye towards the business end of the season.
Amongst all the chaos and drama of the play-offs are the individual awards and honours that are given out – with the Steve Prescott Man of Steel very much at the top of the list.
Daryl Clark lifted the trophy in 2014 after an incredible season for Castleford, but who will be the man to pick it up this year? We’ve looked through the field and picked out six potential winners, all with varying degrees of potential. Agree with us, or disagree? Let us know!
Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds Rhinos)An ever-present for the Rhinos since making the switch to Super League, Adam Cuthbertson has taken to England like a duck to water – but given his family links to the country, it’s perhaps no surprise. Cuthbertson has quickly become an integral part of Leeds’ team as they look to clinch a first League Leader’s Shield since 2009 – with his try-scoring ability earning him rave reviews. He looks a good shout for the award; as key players go, Cuthbertson has been one of the most vital for the Rhinos in 2015.
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
Gale currently holds a healthy lead in League Express’ Albert Goldthorpe Medal table, and that lead could be extended further after another great showing from the former Bradford man on Thursday night. Gale played a key role in Castleford’s 31-24 win against Leeds which moved them into the top four, with his pinpoint kicking game once again spearheading Castleford’s attack. As well as Man of Steel potential, an England call could potentially on the cards too, given his magnificent form in his debut season for the Tigers.
Alex Walmsley (St Helens)Walmsley’s incredible story in Rugby League is well-documented – and could he keep his remarkable development going by winning the Steve Prescott Man of Steel in 2015? He’s had a great first half of the season with St Helens, and is currently Super League’s top metre maker, underlining his importance to the Saints. He told League Express earlier this year he had interest from the NRL but rejected it to stay with the club – Saints fans will certainly be delighted by that given his recent form.
Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings)
If we’re talking importance and influence on a team being key to winning the Man of Steel, then Kevin Brown has to be certainly in with a shout. Brown is arguably at the peak of his powers at the moment, and is enjoying a remarkable run of form which has also seen him become one of Widnes’ most prolific try-scorers, as well as a creative pivot. It’s hard to imagine Widnes without Kevin Brown at the moment, and he will remain key as the season reaches the crunch period.
Terry Campese (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Much like Kevin Brown, Hull KR captain Terry Campese continues to be one of the most influential captains in Super League. And just like another contender on this list, Adam Cuthbertson, Campese has settled into English Rugby League remarkably quick. Hull KR certainly look a better side when Campese is in the middle of the field directing traffic, and he, much like Kevin Brown, will be a key figure for his club as they look to avoid the bottom four in 2015.
Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons)The top metre-maker for the Dragons, and also chipping in with an astonishing 11 tries to boot, Zeb Taia is playing some outstanding Rugby League at the moment. Whether he is a serious contender for Man of Steel or not remains to be seen, but he’s leading the way for the Dragons with perhaps the best form of his career. He forms one half of perhaps the best back-row partnership in Super League with Elliott Whitehead – and with Taia on form, the Dragons remain a hugely dangerous side.