Throughout Super League history, Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, St Helens, Huddersfield Giants, Castleford Tigers, Catalans Dragons and Salford Red Devils have all had winners of the Man of Steel.
The likes of Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity haven’t and nor have Leigh Leopards but many felt they would have a nominee in 2023 after a terrific season. After the reveal of the shortlist for the award many were not happy.
One fan quickly identified the lack of Lachlan Lam: “With no Lachlam Lam in the mix it can only be Jack Welsby, generational talent and head of shoulders above the rest.”
One fan pointed to the absence of John Asiata saying: “Asiata??”
Another responded with simply: “Lam ???”
Another questioned the “ridiculous” system and questioned Lam’s absence: “Johnstone is a strange one. Thought Lam would have been in there. French should win it but it will probably be Welsby based off the ridiculous scoring system we have.”
Tom Amone was another absentee that surprised some: “No Lam or Amone?”
In alphabetical order – and also the order in which their teams finished in the table – they are:
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.
Johnstone and Welsby will face each other in Perpignan on Friday night, as the Dragons host the Saints in the first semi final, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Then on Saturday at 1245pm, French’s Warriors host Hull KR in the second semi final, with that match shown live on Channel 4 and Sky Sports.
Since 2014, the winner of Super League’s most coveted individual award has been named the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel, with the award named after the former St Helens, Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity full-back, who died the previous November at the age of 39 after an inspirational seven-year battle against a rare form of stomach cancer.
For the last five seasons, the winner has been determined by points awarded to the outstanding players in every Betfred Super League fixture by a panel of former players chaired by Ellery Hanley MBE.
The winner of the 2023 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel will be announced next Tuesday (October 10) at Emirates Old Trafford, at Rugby League’s biggest and most inclusive Awards Night – when the winners of more than a dozen other awards will also be celebrated, including the 2023 Woman of Steel, and the first winner of the Wheels of Steel as the year’s outstanding player in Wheelchair Rugby League.
The nominees for those awards, and also the Coach of the Year and the Young Player of the Year in the Betfred Super League, have already been announced.