Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont admitted he was biased, but believes Robbie Mulhern should have been chosen for the Super League Dream Team, though praised the man selected instead in Paul Vaughan.
Prop Mulhern joined the newly-promoted Leopards ahead of 2023 having been let go by Warrington Wolves following a two-year stint at the Halliwell Jones Stadium which saw him make 47 appearances.
The 28-year-old has played 30 times for Adrian Lam’s high-flying side so far in his debut year, only missing a win at Castleford Tigers through a minor knock. Crossing for four tries, including one against Leigh’s first-ever Super League play-off opponents Hull KR, he’s been one of the best signings in the division.
Love Rugby League picked the Ireland international – who made one appearance at last year’s World Cup against Lebanon – out as an ‘unsung hero’ in the Leopards’ Challenge Cup triumph at Wembley back in August.
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont highlights one more Leopards ace that ‘should have’ been named in Dream Team
Lam’s Leythers dominated the 13-man Dream Team selection, with five of their star players chosen, the most of any club in the league. Lachlan Lam, Edwin Ipape, Tom Amone, Josh Charnley and captain John Asiata were all selected, and all handed their commemorative shirt by Ellery Hanley MBE – who heads up the selection panel – on Monday.
Beaumont though believes it should have been six Leopards flying the flag. He told Love Rugby League: “I’m biased, I love our players like they’re my own kids. It’s like a big family, and I’d do anything for them.
“I really do believe we have the best players playing in all the positions, because that’s just what I think of them, but to be honest we were chatting about what we thought the Dream Team would be, and there’s only one player that we thought we might have got in there as well, or probably we even thought should have been.
“That’s Robbie Mulhern, who’s been outstanding for us. Every player’s been outstanding, but I just think he in particular – as a middle – has really stood up from what he was to what he is. It’s been a massive improvement.”
Robbie Mulhern alternative Paul Vaughan praised by Beaumont
Had Mulhern been named, it would have been a clean sweep in the front row for Leigh, with Papua New Guinea star Ipape claiming the number nine shirt, and teammate Amone the number eight.
Instead, Hanley and his panel chose veteran Paul Vaughan for the number 10 role, with the big Australian having a huge impact in his first year with Warrington.
At 32, Vaughan has made 27 appearances and crossed for six tries. He’s also made the third most metres in the competition in 2023, behind only Catalans Dragons winger Tom Johnstone and Leigh’s Amone. Warrington will miss him dearly as they take on St Helens in the play-off eliminators on Saturday afternoon as he serves the second of his four-game ban.
On the veteran prop, Beaumont added: “What Paul Vaughan’s done is outstanding, he’s been absolutely fantastic with the metres he’s made and how he’s really stepped up at Warrington.
“When you look across it as a neutral or as a journalist, then I think they (the Dream Team selection panel) have probably nailed it this year.”