Ellery Hanley MBE will again chair the panel of Rugby League experts who will study every Betfred Super League fixture in 2023 to determine the winner of the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel Award.
The panel was introduced in 2019 to add further lustre, credibility and accountability to the voting process for Super League’s most coveted individual award, which dates back to pre-Super League days in 1977.
For the last four seasons, a rotation of distinguished former players have studied each match, and awarded points to its three outstanding performers ? producing a roll of honour which began with Jackson Hastings of Salford Red Devils in 2019, continued with Paul McShane of Castleford Tigers in 2020 and Sam Tomkins of Catalans Dragons in 2021, and then reverted to Salford last year when another Australian half-back, Brodie Croft, came out on top.
There are three new additions to the panel in 2023, all with recent playing experience at the highest level, and two of them still playing in the Betfred Championship ? Kyle Amor, Luke Gale and Danika Priim.
Kyle Amor, who won three Grand Finals with St Helens and famously scored the last try in their 2021 Challenge Cup Final victory at Wembley, has become an established and respected media pundit in the last two seasons with Sky Sports, Channel 4, Viaplay and the BBC ? and will now combine his media work with a part-time deal to play in the Championship with Widnes.
Luke Gale, who captained Leeds Rhinos to victory in the 2020 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and was an ever-present in England’s 2017 World Cup campaign, was an eyecatching winter signing for the Championship newcomers Keighley Cougars ? and scored two tries in their defeat by Amor’s Vikings at the weekend. He joins a number of former Men of Steel on the panel, having won the award in 2017 after an outstanding season with Castleford Tigers.
Danika Priim is now known as a media pundit, and was a nominee for Sports Pundit of the Year at the Broadcast Sports Awards for 2022 after working regularly for Channel 4 and the BBC. She built her Rugby League knowledge at the sharp end, as a prop for Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos and England.
Ellery Hanley MBE, the only man to win the Man of Steel Award three times (1985, 1987 and 1989), said: “Being the Chair of the Man of Steel panel is a role I take very seriously, and treat as professionally as I did my playing career ? and the same goes for the rest of the panel.
“It’s so important that we recognise and congratulate the outstanding athletes in our sport.
“I’m delighted by the additions to the panel this year. They all have recent experience of playing Rugby League at the highest level, and add to the variety of perspectives we have to analyse all the matches.”
Danika Priim, who joins her former England, Bradford and Leeds team-mate Lois Forsell on the panel, added: “I’m really honoured by this. First and foremost I’m a fan of Rugby League, and I have been since I first went to Headingley in 1996. To be asked to join the Man of Steel panel, with people who have been my heroes, is incredible. I love watching the game, I love analysing it and talking about it, and to have my opinion counting is just incredible.”