The prestigious Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award was handed out last night with the three nominees each representing the top three sides on the Super League ladder, Wigan Warriors’ Bevan French, Catalans Dragons’ Tom Johnstone and St Helens’ Jack Welsby.
The trio saw leading assister French take on leading try scorer Johnstone and Welsby who had been nominated for the award in 2022 as well, just missing out against Brodie Croft of Salford.
Welsby would once again miss out though as Wigan’s French was crowned Steve Prescott Man of Steel, perhaps apt given that he was pivotal in Wigan lifting the League Leaders Shield and he helped guide them to the Grand Final.
Prior to confirmation of French’s win the nominees were described as:
“Bevan French, whose consistent brilliance has been a key factor in Wigan Warriors’ success in winning the League Leaders Shield;
“Tom Johnstone, the powerful wing who has been the joint leading try-scorer in the Betfred Super League with 27 after joining Catalans Dragons from Wakefield Trinity last winter;
“Jack Welsby of St Helens, who has been Super League’s Young Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons and has excelled at full-back throughout the 2023 campaign.”
As such it was evidently tough to select a winner but some St Helens fans still feel that their man Jack Welsby should have earned the award, however suffered due to the points system.
One fan commented: “Welsby would’ve been a worthy winner as well. He’s had an unreal year, it’s just the system meant he was unlikely from that point. I’m sure he’ll win it one year.”
Onto French and his win though, plenty offered praise including one man who knows a lot about elusive playmakers, Rob Burrow’s Dad – Geoff.
He reacted: “Congratulations to Bevan French – 2023 man of steel 👏👏 Very well deserved for a brilliant elusive and sublimely skill full player 🏉 A credit to the game of Rugby League 👍 Very well done Bevan !!”
Other award winners on the night included Adrian Lam who was named Coach of the Year whilst Sinead Peach of York Valkyrie won Woman of Steel, and Lewis King of London Roosters won Wheels of Steel.
Warrington Wolves’ Josh Thewlis lifted Super League’s Young Player of the Year award as well.