The end is nigh, which means only one thing, the debate for who has been the best player over the course of the season begins.
This is the first top 5 that is in no particular order with all 5 players being well in with a chance of winning the title of Man of Steel.
5. James Roby
As we are in no particular order, let’s start with a certainty in many people’s book. Roby has been outstanding in leading the St. Helens team this season. His work in defence is strong and his work in attack is even better, creating chance after chance for the Saints.
St. Helens attacking statistics are fantastic and it centres around this mans ability to control the ruck and his ability to then take on players at the right time and create space for his halves at the right time.
Roby is the heart of the St. Helens team and I dare say St. Helens would not be in the position they are in without his leadership and levels of performance on the field.
4. John Bateman
Batty has once again been Mr. Consistent for the Cherry and Whites, with 100% effort and 100% commitment being the two most important assets in his game.
A move to the NRL is his reward come 2019, but will he be able to make it sweater with a Man of Steel award? I don’t see why not. His yardage has been influential in carrying the team forward and creating a platform that the rest of the team builds on. Defensively he has consistently stood up to back-rowers twice his size, and still comes out on top.
Wigan will miss the Bradford Bulldog next season, but with him here till October, his presence could well help them to a Super League title.
3. Paul McShane
Castleford have flown under every rugby league radar there is, and still manage to sit pretty in 3rd place with a realistic possibility of lifting silverware come October 13th.
A tough season due to injuries reminds me of Leeds last season and even more so of Wigan in 2016, but with every test that has been thrown the Tigers way, McShane has stood forward and faced it alone. He has been outstanding in an ever changing Castleford starting 13, and even upon the return of Luke Gale still continues to be the best performer.
McShane is having one of those seasons of a lifetime and if Castleford do make it to Old Trafford on the 13th October, this man is the reason why.
2. Ben Barba
Although I know many like to forget about the first half of the season, it is as important as the second half, and this man set the league ablaze in the early stages on the campaign.
Barba’s form has dipped considerably and with constant talk of transfers, it’s clear his on field performance is suffering but he still leads the league in tries and is one behind Jacob Miller in assists, proving just how good his form was for the first few months of the season.
To win the prize, Barba will have to improve going into the crunch end of the season but there is no doubt that he will be amongst the contenders.
Considerable Mention – Sam Tomkins
The man that everyone loves to hate, and because of that it can be hard to really allow yourself to admit the quality this man has produced this season.
Wigan fans will tell you over and over the impact the full-back has had this season and misses this list by a whisker but it doesn’t mean he’s not in the running, far from it. Tomkins has been the key to Wigan’s attack this season, in his first full season back from injury in 3 years. His attitude on the field has been outstanding and his quality has shone through like never before, proving he understands the game better than ever.
If Tomkins keeps up anything near this form, he will make the Wigan team hard to stop come the play-offs.
1. Bill Tupou
Stop him if you can, no seriously IF you can. Bill Tupou has been THE hardest man to stop in the Super League this season and the stats go a long way to proving just that.
Tupou has been involved in 20 tries for the Wakefield outfit but that isn’t the most impressive stat. At centre he matches, if not betters, the average carry of any forward in the league with over 8 yards a carry and has made the most metres of any player in the league, 300 metres ahead of the nearest competition. He has been the spark that has led Wakefield to big results and to the top 8 once again.
Although their season is almost up and there is nothing left to play for, Tupou will still be well amongst the names for the best individual honour after what has been an electric season for the Trinity star.