The Steve Prescott Man of Steel award is given to the player who at the end of the year is considered to be the best player in Super League. Before 2014 it was simply known as the Man of Steel award until rugby league fans wanted the name to be changed to honour Steve Prescott. Steve sadly passed away the year before due to a rare form of cancer and was given months to live when he was diagnosed in 2006. As most readers will understand, given the tenacity of the man himself and the work of the Steve Prescott Foundation, coupled with his defying of medical expectations, there could be no better person to name the Man of Steel after.
The first award for Man of Steel in rugby league’s top flight was given out in 1977 to David Ward who played as hooker for Leeds. It has been a sought-after accolade to possess ever since, as it is a reflection of an individual’s performance within a team game. If the list of winners is looked back on, there are some truly amazing players and this goes to show that the Man of Steel truly shows the best of what’s happening within the Super League.
Below are listed the betting odds for the 2021 Man of Steel. Due to the number of possibilities for the award, the players who have odds greater than 25/1 will just be listed with the odds next to their names.
Aidan Sezer – 4/1
Sezer was without doubt the lynchpin that kept the Giants together last season. In his first year at Huddersfield he made an immediate impact with pundits and public alike heaping him with praise for his style of play. If he has an even better season this year, it is guaranteed his name will be top of the list for Man of Steel.
Greg Inglis – 4/1
The biggest Super League signing this year by far, Greg Inglis will be looking to make a big statement in his inaugural season with Warrington. With a CV that is filled with accolades, such as the Clive Churchill Medal and the Golden Boot Award, Inglis will definitely make his mark on Super League and with his reputation preceding him, it is no surprise he is joint favourite with the bookies.
Bevan French – 10/1
The Wigan fullback is definitely at his best again after slipping in favour with previous club, the Parramatta Eels. What was the NRL’s loss has definitely been Super League’s gain and he has set the competition alight with his agile footwork and quick pace. A consistent performer who would not surprise anyone if he won the Man of Steel.
John Bateman – 12/1
Returning from a very successful run with the Canberra Raiders, John Bateman is well within the topic of contention for the Man of Steel this year. He is well known to Super League fans and if he could win the award it would be the perfect way for him to mark his first season back on home soil.
Josh Reynolds – 12/1
Hull FC’s major new signing will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of many other high profile NRL player to come to our shores and have a stand-out season. With Reynolds being such a beloved player in the eyes of Bulldogs fans (they stormed the pitch in his last ever game for them to celebrate his achievements), but having an unsettled time at the Wests Tigers for reasons on and off the pitch, Reynolds will be aiming to get back to what he does best. To win Man of Steel would be a great personal achievement for him in his first Super League season.
Paul McShane – 12/1
It has been known for a number of years now that Paul McShane is one of the most underrated players in Super League. Him winning the Man of Steel last year was the vindication he deserves in reflection of years of hard graft and dedication to the Tigers. It would be a great feat if he were to win it this season too as only one player has ever won it two years on the trot. This was Paul Sculthorpe for St. Helens in 2001 and 2002. But if he can perform like he did last season it is well within reach for him.
Lachlan Coote – 14/1
The St Helens fullback and Scottish international has never won the Man of Steel despite his performances getting widespread attention within the Rugby League media. As an integral member of the defending champions this year, Coote will be under pressure to warrant his status as one of the best fullbacks in the world. If he secures the Man of Steel this year it will be a job well done.
Blake Austin – 16/1
Warrington’s best overseas player at the moment, Austin is a superb Rugby League player, but the pressure will be on him too this season. Warrington have been in a bit of a muddle recently and the removal of Steve Price as head coach at the end of 2021 reflects this, so it will be up to Austin to keep the team playing well on the field whilst supporting newly crowned captain, Jack Hughes. If he can do this successfully, he will be in the running for the Man of Steel at the end of the season.
Jackson Hastings – 16/1
Another former Man of Steel winner, Jackson Hastings could be spending his last season in Super League, although nothing has been confirmed yet from either Hastings or any interested club. If it is to be his last then what a legacy he will leave behind. A hero of Salford and a hard-working playmaker at Wigan, Jackson Hastings has had a run of huge success and would be fully deserving if he were to be awarded the Man of Steel for the second time in his career.
Jonny Lomax – 16/1
Jonny Lomax is considered by many to be one of the best players in Super League and his performances throughout his 12-year career to date with St Helens prove this. Being in contention for this award more often than not, it is surprising that the 30-year-old hasn’t won the award before. Wherever his standing in the rankings for Man of Steel is though, you can be sure that Lomax will have another brilliant season in 2021.
Jai Field – 18/1
Jai Field is a player who never got his break in the NRL. Since his debut season in 2017, he has only made 17 appearances with 11 of those being in the colours of the St. George Illawarra Dragons, and six in the colours of the Parramatta Eels. But he is hoping to start a new chapter of his career with Wigan and this season will be his true test.
Kyle Eastmond – 20/1
Returning from a ten-year stint in Rugby Union, Kyle Eastmond has caught a lot of attention in the past week after the announcement that he will be playing for Leeds Rhinos in 2021. A man who was stellar in his time at St. Helens, he will be looking to use this season to justify his doubters and to reclaim a place on the list of Super League’s best players.
Luke Gale – 20/1
The captain of Leeds has been a previous recipient of the Man of Steel when he guided Castleford to their first Grand Final appearance in 2017. It is unquestionable that he has been one of the best signings Leeds have secured for a number of years and his game management fits perfectly with what Richard Agar is trying to do there. If he can lead the Rhinos to more final appearances, which is their target for the upcoming season, then it will do nothing other than to further Luke Gale’s chances of being Man of Steel again.
Manu Ma’u – 20/1
A player who suffered with injury in the NRL but made a striking impact when out on the field, Manu Ma’u came to Super League last year from the Parramatta Eels, a side who he had consistently been a key performer for. At Hull he will be hoping to increase his reputation within the game and fully settle in to a team that are expected to do big things in 2021.
Niall Evalds – 20/1
The eight-season stalwart for the Red Devils will be playing as a Castleford Tiger for the 2021 season, but he is without doubt one of the best fullbacks in Super League, catching the eye of England boss Shaun Wane in the process. His chance of being honoured with the Man of Steel may be slim but if he steps up his game with the Tigers, anything could happen.
Daryl Clark – 22/1
Another former winner of the Man of Steel in 2014, Daryl Clark is a fantastic player and one that the Wolves clearly want to keep hold of. A winner of the Lance Todd Trophy for his display in the 2019 Challenge Cup Final and England try scorer, he will continue his solid style of play throughout 2021.
Alex Walmsley – 25/1
Alex Walmsley is integral to St Helens at the moment and to get to see him play alongside James Graham in the Grand Final in 2020 was definitely a treat. He is such a powerful carrier of the ball and is very hard to defend against. Regarded as one of the best British prospects if he were to go Down Under, it is striking that the odds for Walmsley aren’t a lot smaller. Nevertheless, 25/1 is where the market is at.
Danny Richardson – 25/1
A player hoping to get back to his best, Danny Richardson has a big point to prove with Castleford this season. After being loaned out by St Helens to Sheffield and Leigh during the 2017 and 2019 seasons respectively, his first season at The Jungle was a better showing for him. Kicking 54 goals in 16 appearances as well as scoring two tries, the evidence is there to suggest Richardson will continue to build his standing at the Tigers which could culminate in a Man of Steel win.
Jake Connor – 25/1
The Hull FC fullback (primarily), like Alex Walmsley, is lower down with the bookies than expected. For Hull he has found a place where he can truly play the best way he knows how and with the black-and-whites looking to impress this year, watch out for Jake Connor’s odds to be much different to what they are now.
James Maloney – 25/1
A player who has served with distinction for the New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, and the Penrith Panthers, James Maloney obviously has a huge amount of experience within the NRL. He signed for Catalans to play in the 2020 season and since Catalans didn’t get much game time last year, Maloney will be looking to impress if his appearances for the Dragons increase.
James Roby – 25/1
The St Helens legend has previously won the award in 2007 but it is strange to think that he hasn’t secured the accolade again more recently. Nevertheless, with a man who seemingly continues to get better with age, there is definitely a chance that James Roby will win the award again before he retires. To do this would be a huge feat for him as only two players have ever won Man of Steel more than once: Paul Sculthorpe (2001, 2002) and Ellery Hanley (1985, 1987, and 1989).
Sam Tomkins – 25/1
Another previous recipient of the Man of Steel in 2012, Sam Tomkins was the hottest talent in Super League in his first run with Wigan, literally running rings around his opposition. His move to the NRL with the New Zealand Warriors wasn’t exactly what he expected it to be though and his return to Wigan after two years away was respectable, but for him it was clear his best days were behind him. At Catalans he has settled into the club well and will continue to do so in 2021 but it’s clear that many others are in front of him for Man of Steel contention.
Below are the players that the bookies have listed with odds greater than 25/1.
Jake Truman – 28/1
Liam Farrell – 28/1
Matty Ashton – 28/1
Konrad Hurrell – 33/1
Liam Watts – 33/1
Mason Lino – 33/1
Sam Powell – 33/1
James Bentley – 40/1
Marc Sneyd – 40/1
Stefan Ratchford – 40/1
Ash Handley – 50/1
Morgan Knowles – 50/1
Kelepi Tanginoa – 66/1
Mike Cooper – 66/1
Tommy Makinson – 66/1
Tui Lolohea – 66/1
Brad Fash – 100/1
Elijah Taylor – 100/1