26th September 2018, 15:09 | super_league
He was the name on everybody’s lips in the opening months of the 2018 Betfred Super League season, after Saints’ flying full-back set the competition alight for the League Leaders’ Shield winners.
With two tries, three assists and one massive tackle in the opening night win against Castleford Tigers, the former Canterbury, Brisbane and Cronulla star set his stall out for 2018 and was voted as the Our League Player of the Month in February, March and April.
Despite a dip in form during late summer, Barba is set to finish at the top of both the top scorers and top assists charts in Super League and remains favourite to win the top accolade on October 8.
One of the best young forwards in Betfred Super League, Wigan’s John Bateman has enjoyed arguably his strongest season to date in Cherry and White and is being strongly tipped for a chance of winning Man of Steel this year.
One of the competition’s most reliable players, the second row performs week after week. He’s one of Wigan’s biggest threats in attack, with 424 carries this season, the fourth highest in the league.
Ahead of his move to Canberra Raiders where he will join up with England colleagues Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson in 2019, will Bateman lift the English games’ most coveted award?
Undoubtedly Castleford’s most consistent performer of 2018, hooker Paul McShane is one of the main reasons that they’re in the frame for making Old Trafford for the second year in a row.
Making more tackles than anyone else in Super League by a country mile (1,129), as well as topping the assist charts with 27 already in 2018, McShane has been invaluable to Daryl Powell and the Tigers.
Sweeping up multiple Betfred Man of the Match awards and the August Our League Player of the Month Award, could McShane become the fourth Man of Steel from Castleford in the space of eight years, following in the footsteps of Rangi Chase, Daryl Clark and Luke Gale?
Looking to join an elite group of players that have won multiple Man of Steel Awards, Saints hooker James Roby looks to be getting better and better with age, after a phenomenal string of performances this season.
The 32-year-old, who previously won Man of Steel in 2007, has been a true leader for Justin Holbrook’s side this year, after being appointed skipper at the start of the year.
With more runs from dummy half than anyone else in Super League this year, Roby is always a danger in attack, which is backed up with his tally of 11 assists this year.
Will Roby make it a second Man of Steel the Monday after next?
A player who has got better and better as every year goes by, Wakefield’s flying centre Bill Tupou has been their star performer this season as they have again punched above their weight in the league.
An invaluable asset to Trinity’s attack, Tupou tops both the Super League total metres (3,997) and total carries (462) charts this season.
Time and time again in 2018, the rapid 28-year-old has terrified Super League defences with his pace, which has helped him to notch 14 tries so far.
If he were to secure the Man of Steel Award, he would be the first Wakefield player to do so in the prize’s 42-year history.
The official confirmed three-man shortlist for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel will be announced at 6pm this Thursday.