Castleford hooker Paul McShane named Man of Steel for 2020

Castleford hooker Paul McShane is the Steve Prescott Man of Steel for 2020.

The 31-year-old, who has been the only ever-present and a shining light in an otherwise disappointing season for the Tigers, was unveiled as the winner of the game’s highest individual accolade at a remote awards ceremony shown on Sky Sports.

McShane beat Huddersfield captain Aidan Sezer, Wigan duo Liam Farrell and Bevan French and St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote to the big prize.

McShane, who is the fifth Castleford player to secure the award, said: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet and seems surreal, I am honoured that legends of our game think I’m worthy of this award.

“If it wasn’t for my team-mates I wouldn’t have been near. At the end of the day I go out and play rugby for them, I want to do my best for them and for those guys wanting me to do well it means a lot.

“There have been some tough periods throughout the year with results not going our way, but the lads have been turning up and trying their hardest and they have helped me win this award.”

Man of Steel chairman Ellery Hanley said: “The award deservedly goes to Paul McShane because he performs in every game he plays in.

“He is ‘Mr Dependable’ and everyone holds him in the highest regard.

“As a player, he consistently displays bravery, skill and athleticism.

“This is a man who wears his badge of honour in every action he delivers on the rugby league field.

“The phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ fits Paul McShane perfectly.

“You only have to be in his company for three minutes to discover what a gentleman and first-class human being he is.

“We are so lucky to have him in our game.”

McShane, who began his professional career with Leeds, has consistently been one of Castleford’s most impressive performers since joining them in the summer of 2015 and is in England coach Shaun Wane’s squad preparing for the 2021 World Cup.

He topped the poll after a series of weekly votes awarded by a members of the Man of Steel panel. The system was changed in October to average points per game to take into account the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wigan’s Adrian Lam was named Coach of the Year after guiding his club to the League Leaders’ Shield and a place in Friday’s Grand Final while Leeds centre Harry Newman was named Young Player of the Year after beating off competition from Wigan half-back Harry Smith and St Helens utility back Jack Welsby.

Huddersfield forward Michael Lawrence received the Top Tackler award, Leeds winger Ash Handley was Top Try Scorer and the Spirit of Super League Award, for those who make a significant contribution to the sport beyond the field of play, went jointly to Rob Burrow and Mose Masoe.

Former Leeds half-back Burrow has been lauded for his battle against Motor Neurone Disease while ex-Hull KR and St Helens prop Masoe continues to inspire as he recovers from a career-ending spinal injury.

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