Adam Cuthbertson: My Dream Team choices might just raise a few eyebrows
IT'S AWARDS season at the moment and all Super League players get a chance to vote for the Man of Steel.
You have to come up with three choices and they can’t be from your own club. My three are John Bateman, James Roby and Tony Gigot.
I honestly can’t remember which of Bateman and Roby was my first pick, but they’ve both had a great year.
Gigot was my third choice, which might surprise a few people. I know Ben Barba has been favourite to win it all year and he’s a full-back as well, but I think what Gigot has done this season is historic and unique.
He missed the start of the year and Catalans struggled early on, but they’ve been one of the form teams over the second half of the season and the way he led them through their Challenge Cup run, particularly the quarter-final, semi-final and final, was outstanding.
What they did has never been done before and might not happen again and I think he should get recognition for that. Along with Michael McIlorum he has turned them around. The Man of Steel award is for consistency over the whole season, but I think what Gigot has achieved this year has been huge.
So, picking my 2018 Dream Team he would be at full-back.
I’ve got a young baby so I don’t get to see much rugby at the moment, just odd glimpses of games, but these are the players who have impressed me the most when I have been watching.
On the wing, Tom Johnstone has had a fantastic year for Wakefield. He’s got pace and he’s a great finisher. Tommy Makinson, of Saints, has been great as well, though he’s also played a lot at centre.
That is part of the problem with the Dream Team. When I was in it in 2015 I played half the year in the front-row and the rest at loose-forward. It’s hard on players who play more than one position because their vote gets split.
Another thing is, I think players at certain clubs get overlooked because they are not on TV as much.
Wakefield, for example, probably don’t get seen as often as some of the other clubs. Even so, Bill Tupou is one of my centres.
He has had a brilliant year and I am pairing him with Mark Percival for Saints.
My stand-off is going to be a controversial choice.
I think Paul McShane should be in the Dream Team, but where do I put him if James Roby is going to be my hooker?
I’m going to include McShane at No 6.
He has played there this year when Cas have had injuries and he’s done a great job.
Danny Richardson is my scrum-half. He’s a talented kid who has been a bit part of what Saints have done this season.
There’s another Saints player at prop, Luke Thompson.
My other prop is Remi Casty, the Catalans captain. He has been brilliant for them and had a couple of big games when they beat us home and away.
He’s somebody else who probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves and he was a big part of their Cup run as well.
Roby is obviously my hooker and Bateman is in the second-row.
Bateman is another who can play two positions and do as good a job in both.
Wayne Bennett has picked him at centre for England and he has played there for Wigan, but I think he’s a dead-set second-rower. He’s been massive for Wigan and it will be interesting to see how he goes in the NRL when he joins Canberra Raiders next year.
Zeb Taia is my other second-rower. He’s had a great season back in Super League with Saints.
I had to think hard about my loose-forward. A lot of clubs use it as an extra prop, but there are some genuine No 13s in Super League.
I think Ryan Hinchcliffe has been great in a struggling team at Huddersfield Giants, but I am going to pick Adam Milner.
I thought he should have been in the Dream Team last year, so he gets a spot in mine.
So my Dream Team is: Gigot (Catalans Dragons), Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Tupou (Wakefield), Percival (St Helens), Makinson (St Helens), McShane (Castleford Tigers), Richardson (St Helens), Thompson (St Helens), Roby (St Helens), Casty (Catalans), Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Taia (St Helens), Milner (Castleford).