The likes of Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils were well represented in the award nominations this week but in a surprising twist St Helens were entirely absent in both and their fans are not happy.
One fan listed the achievements of Paul Wellens in 2023 compared to nominee Paul Rowley:
“World Club Champions winning in Australia Semi final of the challenge cup 3rd in the league on points difference. Running to make it 5 in a row. Paul Rowley up for manager of the year.”
“Paul wellens- wcc and finished 2nd as a first year coach. Yep but an experienced coach finishes 7th.”
Meanwhile there was a shot taken at the RFL:
“Been informed by the panel that the reason Paul Wellens and George Delaney aren’t in the reckoning for Coach or Young Player of the Year is that they haven’t seen any footage of St Helens in 2023 as the MRP steal the videotapes every Monday morning and don’t return them.”
Some more good points were made as well:
“Paul Wellens should be on list world champs ,finished level on points for 1st.”
Matt Peet is one of four in the running for the Betfred Super League Coach of the Year award, which is determined by a poll of the competition’s 12 head coaches.
Meanwhile Brad O’Neill, the 21-year-old hooker who has been a key figure in the Warriors pack throughout 2023, is one of three nominees for the Young Player of the Year award.
O’Neill is joined by two players from Warrington Wolves – second-row Matty Nicholson, and outside back Josh Thewlis.
Nicholson, who was born in Halifax and has previously played for Wigan and Newcastle Thunder, is the youngest of the three, having turned 20 in July.
Thewlis, who joined the Wolves from the renowned Oldham community club Waterhead, was 21 in April – meeting the eligibility criteria for the award of having been under 21 at the start of the 2023 Betfred Super League season in February.
The nominees for the Betfred Super League Coach of the Year award include the last three winners – with Peet aiming to win it for the second consecutive season.
Adrian Lam, who won the award in 2020 when he steered Wigan Warriors to the Grand Final, is in contention again after plotting an outstanding return to the game’s elite for Leigh Leopards – in which they have won the Betfred Challenge Cup at Wembley, in addition to securing a Play-Off place.
Steve McNamara is in contention to be named Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, with Catalans Dragons 80 minutes away from a repeat of their debut Grand Final appearance in 2021 having secured a top two finish and a home Semi Final.
Paul Rowley is the only one of the four nominees not to have won the award previously, although he was also nominated last year for steering Salford Red Devils to the Play-Offs – and has again been recognised by his fellow coaches for the consistency, competitiveness and enterprise of his team.
The Betfred Super League Coach of the Year and Young Player of the Year will be crowned at the sport’s biggest and most inclusive Awards Night at Emirates Old Trafford on Tuesday October 10.
The three nominees for the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel will be announced next Wednesday (October 4).
Betfred Super League Coach of the Year Nominees
Adrian Lam (Leigh Leopards)
Steve McNamara (Catalans Dragons)
Matt Peet (Wigan Warriors)
Paul Rowley (Salford Red Devils)
Young Player of the Year Nominees
Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves)
Brad O’Neill (Wigan Warriors)
Josh Thewlis (Warrington Wolves)