Two Castleford Tigers legends have been included on the panel that will decide this year’s Steve Prescott Man of Steel.
The system to decide Rugby League’s biggest individual honour is changing this year with each Super League game watched by a member of the new 21-strong panel who will award three points to his man of the match, two to his runner- up and one to the third-choice player.
The votes will be made public until round 22 and then hidden until the awards ceremony in October.
Castleford are represented on the panel by their former prop Andy Lynch and ex-coach and player Malcolm Reilly.
Paul Cooke, who played for Featherstone Rovers, is also included.
The full panel is: Ellery Hanley MBE, Denis Betts, Phil Clarke, Paul Cooke, Eorl Crabtree, Jonathan Davies OBE, Jerome Guisset, Robbie Hunter-Paul, Chris Joynt, Andy Lynch, Barrie McDermott, Adrian Morley, Terry O’Connor, Martin Offiah MBE, Jamie Peacock MBE, Malcolm Reilly OBE, Jason Robinson OBE, Garry Schofield OBE, Paul Sculthorpe MBE, Keith Senior and Johnny Whiteley MBE.
Hanley will chair the panel and he said: “The major new approach will see a panellist allocated matches to watch from the Betfred Super League and award points to his three outstanding players: 3 points for their chosen Man of the Match, 2 points for the runner-up, and 1 point for the third-ranked player.
“The panel is an outstanding group of former players from across the generations who have experience of playing at the very top of the game, with seven of the group being Man of Steel winners and five inducted into the Hall of Fame. Their insight is priceless and will shape the worthy winner of the game’s ultimate individual accolade.”
Super League chief executive, Robert Elstone said: “It feels wholly appropriate that the game’s highest individual award, with over 40 years of heritage, be selected by a panel of iconic and multi-decorated former players.
“Clearly, we couldn’t have done this without the support of the panel and I would like to thank all of them for injecting the rigour and authenticity to make the 2019 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel the ultimate Rugby League accolade.
“It was also really important for us to have the support of Linzi Prescott, wife of our ultimate Man of Steel. We thank Linzi and her family for working with us throughout this process.”
The early running in the 2019 Man of Steel is being made by St Helens’ James Roby, but two Castleford players - Paul McShane and Liam Watts - are in the top 10 after two rounds of Super League.
The current Man of Steel leaderboard is:
1. James Roby (6 points)
2. Niall Evalds (4 points)
3. Stefan Ratchford (4 points)
4. Paul McShane (4 points)
5. Mike Cooper (3 points)
6. Mitch Garbutt (3 points)
7. Jackson Hastings (3 points)
8. Jamie Shaul (3 points)
9. Alex Walker (3 points)
10. Liam Watts (3 points)
11. Matt Whitley (3 points)
12. George Williams (3 points)