The Man of Steel is the most prestigious individual award in British rugby league and a big question going into any new season is: who will win the Man of Steel in the upcoming season?
With 2023 just days away, now is as good a time as any to ask that question but this time with a bit of a spine.
Here’s five outside picks who could scoop the award in 2023.
Matty Lees – St Helens
In a star-studded St Helens side, it is difficult for any player to stand out and no disrespect to Matty Lees but in recent years compared to the other forwards in the Saints pack he is not one of the best despite being one of the best in Super League. However, he seems to be developing into one of the finest in the Saints team now as well. He scored in the Grand Final, was exceptional against Salford Red Devils in the semi-final too. There is precedent for a young St Helens prop to take themselves up to another level and scoop the Man of Steel as James Graham did in 2008. Could Lees follow suit?
Harry Newman – Leeds Rhinos
When fit, you could argue that the Leeds Rhinos star is the league’s best player. He is brilliant to watch. So, the doubt over him and his chances of winning the Man of Steel exists because of his injuries. If he has an injury free season in 2023, he could be one of the favourites for the award.
Jake Clifford – Hull FC
Like Jackson Hastings and Brodie Croft before him, there is no reason that Jake Clifford, an unknown quantity entering Super League in 2023, could not lift the Man of Steel in his first season in Super League like those two ex-Salford stars (in Hastings’ case it was his first full season.) If he revolutionises Hull FC like he could, he could very well pick up the award.
George Williams – Warrington Wolves
For the ex-Wigan Warriors man to go from being criticised as Warrington finished 11th to the Man of Steel would be some story but it is very feasible given that he showed he is indeed World Class during the Rugby League World Cup.
Mikey Lewis – Hull KR
If Hull KR are the surprise package of the 2023 as many expect them to be, star man Mikey Lewis could be in the running for the Man of Steel. An exhilarating attacking player, he can win games by himself.