Leeds Rhinos’ forward Carl Ablett believes that his former teammate Zak Hardaker deserves to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award for a second time.
Ablett played alongside Hardaker when he won the award in 2015, but the England full-back has since departed Headingley for local rivals Castleford.
In his first season at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Hardaker has rediscovered his best form and helped the Tigers storm to their first ever League Leaders’ Shield.
Speaking in his Yorkshire Evening Post column, Ablett said: “Zak has been great this year. He has developed his game from when he was at Leeds and won Man of Steel a couple of years ago.
“When he was with us, he was renowned for his defence. He has always been great with his kick returns and bringing the ball away from his own line, but his attacking game has really come to the fore this year.
“Zak is not the biggest of blokes but, pound for pound, he is one of the strongest in the game. He has got the ability to ride tackles and break tackles and he is a real strike player.
“He has created a lot of tries for Cas this year and scored some good ones as well – and he is still the best defensive full-back in Super League.”