SECOND-ROWER Carl Ablett reckons a Man of Steel winner would be a reward for Leeds Rhinos’ achievements this season.
Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker and prop Adam Cuthbertson have been nominated for the trophy, along with St Helens front-rower Alex Walmsley.
The short list is drawn up from Super League players’ votes and the winner is ratified by an expert panel.
Rhinos have not had a Man of Steel since Iestyn Harris in 1998. The only other Leeds players to receive the British game’s most prestigious individual honour are David Ward, who was the first Man of Steel in 1977 and Garry Schofield, in 1991. This year’s winner will be announced at a dinner, at Old Trafford cricket ground, tonight and Ablett said: “I think both our lads who have been nominated have been great all year.
“But in saying that, so has Alex Walmsley. He has been phenomenal for Saints, so it will be interesting, but hopefully one of our guys can get it.
“That would be just reward for a great year.”
Cuthbertson, in his first season at Leeds, has already won the Rugby League Writers’ and Broadcasters’ Association player of the year award.
Rhinos boss Brian McDermott, who has steered his side to a Challenge Cup and league leaders’ shield double as well as a place in Saturday’s Grand Final, is favourite to be named coach of the year. Leeds’ last winner of that award was Tony Smith, in 2005.