Man of Steel: Catalans Dragons Steve McNamara and Sam Tomkins get just rewards as they set sights on biggest prize of all
Catalans Dragons secured a Super League double last night with Sam Tomkins named as Steve Prescott Man of Steel and Steve McNamara awarded Coach of the Year.
England full-back Tomkins fought off strong competition from Hull KR’s Jordan Abdull, Hull FC’s Jake Connor, St Helens’ Jonny Lomax and Warrington Wolves’ Gareth Widdop as the competition’s best player for 2021.
It is the second time he has won the prestigious individual award having also done so when with Wigan Warriors in 2012.
Yorkshireman McNamara, meanwhile, deservedly took the Coach of the Year for the first time in his career having guided the French club to the League Leaders’ Shield and their maiden Grand Final.
The Hull-born former Bradford Bulls and England chief will now seek to bring Catalans’ first-ever Super League title when they take on defending champions Saints at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Tomkins, 32, is expected to return to the side having missed Thursday’s semi-final win over Hull KR with a knee injury.
“It is a huge honour to receive the Man of Steel Award,” said the player, who scored 10 tries and created another 20 as the Perpignan-based club enjoyed its best campaign to date.
“It comes off the back of some great team performances and I feel lucky to be playing in a great team at Catalans.
“It was a long time ago when I won it for the first time. Someone showed me some pictures from back then; I was just a young kid enjoying playing rugby. I’m at a very different stage of my life now. It means a little more to me as I know I’ve not got another 10 years of playing the sport.”
Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane won last year but Man of Steel chairman Ellery Hanley said:“Sometimes in life you have to tip your hat and give full praise and credit to an individual.
“Sam Tomkins has been head and shoulders above everyone in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel points this season. Watching his performances, he has established himself not only as a marvellous rugby league player, but a fabulous leader of men.
“He has illustrated all season the values and qualities you want all your players to demonstrate in every game they participate.
“Look deeper into Sam’s game and you will see what he has done to the rest of his team individually and collectively, in bringing the best out of the Catalans Dragons squad.
“Sam has had a brilliant, majestic and a wonderful season in all facets of the game.”
St Helens’ Jack Welsby, the 20-year-old who has excelled whether playing full-back, stand-off, centre or loose forward this term, claimed the Super League Young Player of the Year award.
Wigan’s Joe Shorrocks was noted as top tackler, Salford Red Devils’ ex-Hull KR winger Ken Sio claimed top try-scorer and St Helens’ Jodie Cunningham won Woman of Steel.
The Loch Lomond Spirit of Super League Award – for someone who makes a significant contribution to the sport beyond the field of play – had already been awarded to Kevin Sinfield.
The Leeds Rhinos legend has raised nearly £3m for motor neurone charity and recently left Headingley to join Leicester Tigers’ coaching staff.