Tomkins and Cunningham take Steel awards

SAM TOMKINS is the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel after helping Catalans Dragons to a first Super League Grand Final.

And Jodie Cunningham, who is also gearing up for a Grand Final with St Helens, is the Woman of Steel.

Fullback Tomkins joins Paul Sculthorpe and Andy Farrell in winning the award twice. The 32-year-old England star claimed it in 2012 when at Wigan.

He held off competition from Hull KR’s Jordan Abdull, Hull’s Jake Connor, St Helens’ Jonny Lomax and Warrington’s Gareth Widdop.

Tomkins had already been named Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association Player of the Year.

“It is a huge honour to be Man of Steel. It comes off the back of some great team performances and I feel lucky to be playing in a great team at Catalans,” he said.

“It was a long time ago when I won it for the first time. Someone showed me some pictures. I was just a young kid enjoying playing rugby.

“I’m at a very different stage of my life now. It means a little bit more to me as I know I’ve not got another ten years of playing the sport.”

Tomkins had two spells at Wigan around a two-year stint in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors. He has been at Catalans since 2019.

Catalans’ Steve McNamara was named Coach of the Year, while Jack Welsby, of Saturday’s Old Trafford Grand Final opponents St Helens, took the Young Player of the Year award.

Cunningham has captained St Helens to their first two major honours in the women’s game this season – the Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ Shield.

The 29-year-old England star will lead their bid for a treble in the Grand Final against Leeds at Headingley on Sunday.

Loose-forward Cunningham is the third winner of the award since it was introduced in 2018, following Georgia Roche of Castleford  and Leeds’ Courtney Winfield-Hill (there was no award last year after the season was a victim of the pandemic).

“I’m passionate about the development of women’s Rugby League, and that’s one of the reasons winning this award means so much,” she said.

“I’ve loved the game all my life and I’ve been fortunate to be involved at a time when the Women’s game is making amazing progress.”

Leeds legend Kevin Sinfield won the Loch Lomond Spirit of Super League Award, for those who make a significant contribution to the sport beyond the field of play.

Sinfield ran seven marathons in seven days in December 2020 and raised £2.2m in support of former teammate Rob Burrow, who is living with motor neurone disease.

In June, the 41-year-old, now on the coaching team at rugby union club Leicester, was awarded an OBE for fundraising and services to Rugby League.

Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel: Sam Tomkins (Catalans)

Young Player of the Year: Jack Welsby (St Helens)

Coach of the Year: Steve McNamara (Catalans)

Top Tackler: Joe Shorrocks (Wigan)

Top Try Scorer: Ken Sio (Salford)

Loch Lomond Spirit of Super League Award: Kevin Sinfield OBE

Woman of Steel: Jodie Cunningham (St Helens).