LEEDS RHINOS skipper Kevin Sinfield reckons team-mate Jamie Peacock should be crowned Steve Prescott Man of Steel.
Peacock was this week named Rhinos’ player of the year, also received the fans’ award and was included in the Super League Dream Team for the 10th time.
And Sinfield says his fellow former England captain should go one better and receive the top individual honour in the game, 11 years after he previously collected the award.
“We are all fortunate here to play alongside him every week,” Sinfield said.
“We know what he gives us and the sacrifices he makes.
“I think he is nailed-on as the stand-out forward and arguably the stand-out player full stop.
“The influence he has on our team is massive. The Man of Steel for me is based on a toughness and a resilience and is a consistent performer that gives a huge contribution every week to his team. I think JP is the stand-out for it.”
Peacock was on a three-man shortlist last year, but missed out to Huddersfield Giants’ Danny Brough.
He was Man of Steel in 2003, when he was a Bradford Bulls player, but Rhinos’ last winner of the honour was Iestyn Harris in 1998. Peacock’s main rival this year is likely to be Castleford Tigers hooker Daryl Clark, who is also eligible for the young player of the year award.
All Super League players are asked to vote for their first, second and third choices for Man of Steel, though they can’t nominate from their own club.
Those votes result in a shortlist which is overseen by a panel including a print journalist, representative of the broadcast media, a former Man of Steel and an official of the players’ union League13.
The award will be presented at a ceremony the Monday before the Super League Grand Final.
Peacock was one of five Rhinos players named in the Super League Dream Team, which is compiled from journalists’ votes.
The selection of so many players from the team which finished sixth on the table caused a storm of protest on social media, but Sinfield said: “It is all opinions.
“Everyone has their own opinions and their club allegiances.
“I understand that, but over the years we haven’t had that many in the Dream Team when we possibly should have.
“I think it’s a big call to say that any of those lads who got in – from any club – shouldn’t be in.
“I will certainly back our lads who got in. It is an opinion thing and I think especially now with social media everybody’s trying to get a response and a rise out of somebody.
“That’s just the way it seems to be going at the minute. I don’t think the lads are too bothered. I think they deserved their selection and I would back every single one of them to continue the form they’ve been in.”
Sinfield – whose team face Catalan Dragons in a play-offs eliminator at Headingley on Saturday – said he’s proud to captain a side with five Dream Team representatives.
He added: “There were years when we came first or second in the league and when the Dream Team was announced we only had one or maybe two in. As a club it is good recognition. We won the Challenge Cup and up until two or three weeks ago we were sat in second or third spot in the league and I think the lads deserve their spots.”
Other Rhinos in the Dream Team were Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall and Carl Ablett.
Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s face Wigan Warriors in an elimination play-off at Orrell on Sunday (2pm).