As part of Betfred Super League’s ‘New Beginnings’ campaign, a 21-man voting panel for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award has been announced by chairman Ellery Hanley.
Hanley, a three-time winner of the prestigious award and an ex-St Helens coach, was joined by Linzi Prescott and panel members Paul Sculthorpe (former Saints skipper), Phil Clarke, Eorl Crabtree, Robbie Hunter-Paul, Barrie McDermott, Jason Robinson, Garry Schofield, Keith Senior and Johnny Whiteley at an event in Leeds to unveil the full list of former players who will be awarding points throughout the season, leading to the crowning of the 2019 Betfred Super League Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel at a new-look event in October.
Hanley said:“The major new approach will see a panellist allocated matches to watch from the Betfred Super League and award points to his three outstanding players: three points for their chosen man of the match, two points for the runner-up, and one point for the third-ranked player.'
"The panel is an outstanding group of former players from across the generations who have experience of playing at the very top of the game, with seven of the group being Man of Steel winners and five inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"Their insight is priceless and will shape the worthy winner of the game’s ultimate individual accolade.”
Fans will be able to follow the season long narrative when the scores are published each week of the season until round 22 in mid-July. After that, the leader board will be hidden until the awards ceremony in October. Further details of that ceremony will be released during the season.
Super League chief executive, Robert Elstone said:“It feels wholly appropriate that the game’s highest individual award with more than 40 years of heritage, be selected by a panel of iconic and multi-decorated former players.
''Clearly, we couldn’t have done this without the support of the panel and I would like to thank all of them for injecting the rigour and authenticity to make the 2019 Steve Prescott Man of Steel the ultimate Rugby League accolade.
''It was also really important for us to have the support of Linzi Prescott, wife of our ultimate Man of Steel. We thank Linzi and her family for working with us throughout this process.”
Linzi said: “This is a fantastic initiative from Super League. The judging panel assembled features some of the greatest names in Rugby League and all of whom Stephen had the greatest of respect for. It is a testament to Stephen’s legacy the level of respect the Man of Steel award is being given by the game.'
''The Prescott family would like to thank all who have revamped the voting process and we are really looking forward to the season and welcoming the new Steve Prescott Man of Steel.”
Apart from Sculthorpe - a two times Man of Steel winner-Saints are also represented on the panel by trophy-winning captain Chris Joynt.