Betfred have released their odds for who they think will pick up the Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award in 2020. Here’s a look at the six favourites.
Jackson Hastings (Wigan Warriors) – 12/1
Hastings is the favourite to secure back-to-back Man of Steel’s, having picked up the 2019 award back in October. The 23-year-old made 35 Salford appearances – plus four Great Britain starts – and was instrumental for Ian Watson’s side as they came within 80 minutes of a first-ever Super League title.
Hastings scored 10 tries in all competitions and added a further 36 Super League try assists, 14 more than his nearest rival. With a move to Wigan secured for 2020, the Australian will be keen to put off-field headlines to one side and let his rugby do the talking once again.
James Maloney (Catalans Dragons) – 14/1
Could two-time NRL Grand Final winner Maloney scoop Man of Steel during his first year over in Super League? The 33-year-old scored twice in 22 appearances for Penrith last season and also helped New South Wales secured back-to-back State of Origin titles for the first time since 2003-05.
Having arrived at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on a three-year deal, Maloney will be looking to hit the ground running straight away alongside fellow new recruit Josh Drinkwater, who won silverware during his first spell at the club. If the Dragons are serious about being contenders for a top five spot, Maloney in-particular will have a serious part to play.
Lachlan Coote (St Helens) – 14/1
He had a standout season in 2019 and was St Helens’ Mr Consistency, but can Coote repeat the feat next year? The Great Britain international achieved a combined 36 tries and assists in Super League – bettered only by team-mate Jonny Lomax – and was one of five Saints player to secure a place in the Dream Team.
The emergence of Jack Welsby will provide some healthy competition for the full-back spot, but you get the feeling this will only spur Coote on even more. He didn’t get the chance to show his full skillset in GB’s end of season tour, so expect the Scotland international to return to domestic action with a point to prove.
Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves) – 14/1
Had an ankle injury not restricted Austin’s game time in the latter weeks of last season, he may have been more of a contender to pip Jackson Hastings to the Man of Steel crown.
Warrington’s first marquee man bagged 18 tries and 12 assists in Super League last year, more than any other player in a primrose and blue jersey. He also made his first appearances for Great Britain in their post-season tour, albeit out of position. It will have been frustrating for Warrington fans – and possibly Austin himself – to see a man of his quality stuck out on the wing by Wayne Bennett. With a return to the halves domestically, Austin will be desperate to pick up where he left off in 2019 and be Steve Price’s instigator-in-chief once more.
Sonny Bill Williams (Toronto Wolfpack) – 16/1
Having made the big-money move from rugby union to link up with Toronto ahead of their debut season in Super League, SBW will be looking to live up to his hefty price tag from the off.
The two-time Rugby Union World Cup winner recently appeared for the All Blacks and looked as menacing with ball-in-hand as he did during his previous spell in league with Sydney in 2013-14. Following the immense fanfare that surrounded his move to the Wolfpack, expect Williams to be eager to get down to business as he seeks to become the first forward since James Graham in 2008 to win Man of Steel.
Gareth Widdop (Warrington Wolves) – 16/1
Joining Austin in the halves at Warrington next year will be fellow marquee man Widdop. He arrives at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for a reportedly sizeable fee and will be keen to repay the faith shown in him by Steve Price and co.
The 30-year-old had an injury-hit season and was restricted to just 10 appearances for the Dragons as they finished second-bottom of the NRL table. The only concern for Warrington will be how susceptible he is to shoulder injuries, having dislocated his shoulder three times in under 18 months. However, if Widdop can stay injury-free, he could set Super League alight in 2020 and claim any personal accolades which could be forthcoming.
Selected other odds:
Luke Gale – 16/1
James Roby – 18/1
Jonny Lomax, Zak Hardaker – 20/1
Jake Connor, Daryl Clark, Jake Trueman, Albert Kelly – 25/1