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NRL news, as it happens.
Australian Ben Barba and Englishman John Bateman are both hoping to bow out of the English Super League with the prestigious Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.
St Helens fullback Barba, who is returning to the NRL with North Queensland in 2019, and Wigan second rower Bateman, who is joining Canberra, are short-listed for the annual award with Saints hooker James Roby.
The winner, determined by a poll of Super League players who cannot vote for their own team-mates, will be announced at the Man of Steel Awards dinner in Manchester on Monday, October 8.
“It’s fantastic news. It’s one of those things you only dream of so to be in the top three of Super League with such a great bunch of players is great news,” Bateman said.
“When personal awards do come along they are great to get under your belt but obviously it’s about the team and I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for the other lads who I work with week in, week out. It’s probably more down to them than what I’m doing.”
Barba, who won the NRL’s equivalent Dally M Medal in 2012, was the early front-runner after making an explosive start to the season but he could pay the price for a loss of form in the second half of the campaign.
Players are asked to decide on the man to have made the biggest impact in Super League this season and Roby, who was crowned Man of Steel in 2007, has been recognised for his consistency.
St Helens, who have won the League Leaders’ Shield, are also in the running to provide the Super League young player of the year with forward Matty Lees, who is short-listed alongside Castleford halfback Jacob Trueman and Leeds fullback Jack Walker.
History will be made at this year’s awards night when a Woman of Steel will be named.
The prize will go to the player adjudged to have made the biggest impact on the field this season and the shortlist, chosen by fellow players, comprises Castleford duo Tara-Jane Stanley and Georgia Roche and Leeds captain Lois Forsell.