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St Helens man’s “iconic” performance unrewarded in Man of Steel points

The Man of Steel award is one of the most prestigious in British rugby league and is intended to reward the very best player across the whole of the season.

Typically in history that’s exactly how it’s been with the award passing through some of the game’s very greatest players.

Perhaps more telling of the difficulty to win the award is the fact that players such as Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire have never won it.

The current Man of Steel points are awarded after each game with the maximum of three points available, then two and then finally one meaning in theory the player who is consistently best in matches across the season earns the title.

Thus far this season George Williams has been spectacular and as such he’s racked up plenty of points including the maximum three this week as Warrington whitewashed Castleford.

The other points winners in that game were Paul Vaughan (two) and Matty Russell (one) who both scored, with Russell bagging a brace on his second debut for the club.

Other games on Friday saw Hull KR clean sweep the points as they beat Wakefield with Elliot Minchella (three), Mikey Lewis (two) and Rhys Kennedy (one) taking the points.

The televised game saw Bevan French headline Wigan’s comeback against Salford and as such he scored three points whilst his running mate Jai Field (two) and rival winger Ken Sio (one) scooped the rest.

It was Thursday’s televised game though that saw one man omitted despite being awarded Man of the Match and then being singled out by Paul Wellens for praise.

Matty Lees had a huge 68 tackles in the tight victory over Huddersfield prompting Sky Sports to award him Man of the Match whilst Wellens labelled him “iconic”.

“I never came into tonight thinking that a middle player would have to do that but the longer the game went on I just never saw signs of Matty slowing down.

“I thought I may as well keep him out there, but thankfully the players have got a few days off now because I think whilst they all need it, in particularly Matty.

“I’ve just spoke to the team in there and I’ve singled Matty out for praise, I’m delighted with everyone of the 17 tonight but when a middle forward goes out and racks up those kind of numbers.

“It’s not just the number of tackles but when he’s kick pressuring their half-backs in the 78th minute in the same fashion as he was in the first, I think that says everything about Matty Lees and his fitness levels and energy.

“I think back over the history of Super League and your front rowers like James Graham and Stuart Fielden who used to be able to go out there and perform for 80 minutes. That performance is as iconic as some of those.”

So whilst Wellens clearly thought that Lees was deserving of maximum points in the Man of Steel voting it was actually Konrad Hurrell who took max points, whilst the losing Giants saw Olly Russell (two) and Ashton Golding (one) rewarded.

As for Saturday’s games Blake Austin and Josh Charnley scored max points for their incredible performances, Lachlan Lam and Mitchell Pearce both picked up two and Kai O’Donnell and Jared O’Connor finished with a point a piece.

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