The most prestigious individual honour in rugby league - the Man of Steel - is set to be named in memory of inspirational Saints legend Steve Prescott, it was announced tonight.
This October, for the first time ever, the player deemed to have made the biggest impact on Super League will receive the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.
The poignant move received unanimous backing from the 14 Super League clubs at the extraordinary general meeting last week.
After being diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in 2006, Precky’s bravery and defiance helped him to raise more than £500,000 for charity before he passed away in November.
Steve’s wife Linzi said: “The naming of the award for the winner of The Man of a Steel is a fitting tribute to a man who showed so much grit and determination in face of adversity. Steve’s name will forever live on and be known alongside such rugby league greats as Lance Todd and Harry Sunderland.
“We are extremely grateful to the Super League clubs who have sanctioned this move. They have recognised how Steve promoted this great game through his efforts, and we, on behalf of his foundation, will continue to do so.”
Mike Denning, chairman of the Steve Prescott Foundation, described the move as “overwhelming”.
He added: “Stephen’s achievements during his illness always amazed me and the fact that his name will always be linked to this prestigious award will forever be a reminder of what a special husband, dad and person he was.
“Stephen would be delighted, honoured and a little embarrassed by this announcement but we are all extremely proud.
“I’d like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all who have supported the renaming of this award and in particular those fans who petitioned the RFL.”
Super League chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: “It is absolutely right that the player whose on-field heroics capture the imagination of his peers throughout the First Utility Super League season is presented with an award named in recognition of one of the sport’s true heroes.
“Although he never won the award himself, Steve Prescott really was a man of steel - a truly extraordinary individual who was universally respected by all who knew him and those who watched or read about his exploits.
“Steve was not only a great player and an outstanding ambassador for the sport throughout his illness, he was much more than that. He was an exceptional human being.”