The prestigious Man of Steel award, which is given to the best player in Super League every season, has been renamed to honour the late, great Steve Prescott.
The former St Helens and Hull full-back fought a very brave and public battle with a rare type of cancer that doctors expected to take his life in a matter of months. Somehow, though, he managed to summon the strength to live for seven years, while in the process raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity. He sadly passed away in November last year.
He is widely regarded as one of sport’s most inspirational figures, not just in our game, and the RFL were presented with a petition to rename their annual individual award after him. All 14 Super League clubs voted on the change and were unanimous in their acceptance. As a result, the accolade will be known as the ‘Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award’ from October this year.
Super League Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “It is absolutely right that the player whose on-field heroics capture the imagination of his peers throughout a First Utility Super League season is presented with an award named in recognition of one of the sport’s true heroes.
“Although he never won the award himself, Steve Prescott really was a man of steel; a truly extraordinary individual who was universally respected by all who knew him and those who watched or read about his exploits.
“Steve was not only a great player and an outstanding ambassador for the sport throughout his illness, he was much more than that. He was an exceptional human being who impacted upon many more lives than the ones he touched in Rugby League and this has been highlighted by the support shown by not only the clubs but also the general public in the naming of the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.”
Steve’s wife, Linzi Prescott, said: “The naming of the award for the winner of The Man of a Steel is a fitting tribute to a man who showed so much grit and determination in face of adversity.
“Steve’s name will forever live on and be known alongside such Rugby League greats as Lance Todd and Harry Sunderland. We are extremely grateful to Super League and it’s clubs who have sanctioned this move and they have recognised how Steve has promoted this great game through his efforts, and we on behalf of his foundation will continue to do so.”
Mike Denning, Chairman of the Steve Prescott Foundation, added: “The news that the Super League clubs have unanimously voted in naming the award for the Man of Steel winner after Stephen is overwhelming. His achievements during his illness always amazed me and the fact that his name will always be linked to this prestigious award will for ever be a reminder of what a special husband, dad and person he was.
“Stephen would be delighted, honoured and a little embarrassed by this announcement but we are all extremely proud. A massive thank you to all who have supported the renaming of this award and in particular those fans who petitioned to the Rugby Football League showing their respect for Stephen. Thank you.”