Sky Sports pundit names Super League stars of 2024 including ‘Man of Steel elect’

Aaron Bower

Sky Sports pundit Jon Wells believes Salford Red Devils half-back Marc Sneyd is the ‘Man of Steel elect’ as things stand: but insists there are a number of other stars in Super League who could push him for the award.

Wells, speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League as the season reaches the midway mark, insists that Sneyd’s performances for the Red Devils have deservedly established him as the favourite to be crowned Man of Steel in 2024, stating that Sneyd is one of several who is in the best form of his career.

He said: “The 2024 season has also seen some players in career-best form. Marc Sneyd, at 33 years of age, is looking like the Man of Steel elect at present – and his performances continue to really impress.”

However, Wells admitted that there are others who have caught his eye too – with Warrington Wolves fullback Matt Dufty another who he had high praise for.

“So too Matt Dufty at the Warrington Wolves; we always knew he was fast, that he could beat men and was devastating in broken field,” Wells insisted. “What we know a little more now is of his durability.

“He has featured in 53 of the 54 games Warrington have played since he joined the club in July 2022, and his work-rate, where he has consistently topped 200m a game.

“And in doing so, he has been putting himself in the frame at crucial points defensively, which was not always his strong suit in the early stages of his Warrington career, as well as in try scoring positions in attack. Ubiquitous and effervescent, and one of the best players in Super League this year.”

Wells also highlighted a group of other players including Peta Hiku and Matt Moylan, dubbing them the overseas success stories of 2024, before continuing: “Domestic players who have re-gained their best form following a change of environment – Cain Robb and Sam Wood at the Tigers, the latter their best player this season in my opinion – and Niall Evalds at KR.

“A glimpse of the future too in the shape of Lewis Martin, Logan Moy and Denive Balmforth at Hull FC, Jack Farrimond at Wigan Warriors and Riley Lumb at Leeds Rhinos. All are individual stories to follow for one reason or another for the remainder of the season.”

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And Wells admitted that his big hope for the rest of the season is that he wants the discussion to surround what is happening on the field with Super League, not IMG and their controversial gradings system.

He said: “I have a wish that the sport is dominated by headlines on the field as we enter the long race for the play-offs, and not descending into discussions and arguments over quarter point gains from an IMG metric.

“I also believe that to be the best you must learn from the best, and the NRL are leading the way in our sport. Their “sport as spectacle” ideology needs to be further embraced in the Super League, and don’t be afraid of nicking a couple of good ideas along the way either – they certainly weren’t in appropriating the Magic Weekend concept.

“Take refereeing as one example – ref mics open to fans in the stadium for key decisions is an easy one for me, as is the Captain’s Challenge. Both have really added to the immersive element of watching an NRL game. Super League, take note.

“Most of all, I long for greater, more comprehensive media coverage, which is why I agreed to pen these thoughts. We have a wonderful sport played by amazing athletes that stubbornly and frustratingly remains alien to far too many people.

“There is no magic bullet, but a collective, sustained, game-wide push from all stakeholders in our sport might just start to see us register on the national stage more frequently.”

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