At the beginning of this week the Super League Dream Team was announced and unveiled at Langtree Park, the home of eventual League Leaders St Helens, celebrating the competitions ‘best’ players over the course of the 2014 season.
The team was picked by a panel of the sport’s broadcasters and journalists and for the second year in a row featured only English born players with a number of players making a first appearance in the Dream Team.
This year we have witnessed one of the most exciting seasons in Super League history with the make-up of the top six being decided in the last round of games, which is probably why this year’s selections have caused so much debate over social media between fans.
Now of course bias comes into play when your favourite player hasn’t been picked or your team isn’t as well represented as you’d like however there is good reason for the outrage at certain players being left out.
First of all, the competition’s top try scorer is nowhere to be seen with Joel Monaghan not being selected for the Dream Team and Ryan Hall in his place instead. There is no doubting Ryan’s ability and he is one of the league’s best wingers with a number of England caps under his belt too, however this season hasn’t been the best for the big Rhino with his best performance coming outside of Super League in the Challenge Cup Final.
As well as not selecting the league’s top try scorer the panel of judges have opted to leave out the second top try scorer. This is of course Morgan Escare who racked up an impressive 27 tries in 27 appearances in 2014 with his place going to another Leeds Rhinos player Zak Hardaker.
Now this may seem like an attack on Leeds and I can forgive you for thinking that, but the numbers don’t lie and neither does the league table with the most represented club being the Rhinos despite their sixth place finish.
It seems as though the panel are desperate to make our young English talent be the focus despite the talent of the overseas players in the competition. There is no doubting the talent we have in our league yet why make a farce out of it by putting players into a dream team just because they are English.
Should we be proud of our all English Dream Team? Last year the majority were as they were all deserving of a place as opposed to this year when it seems as though some decided to pick a best English thirteen rather than a best Super League thirteen.
2014 Super League Dream Team
Fullback: Zak Hardaker – Leeds Rhinos (1st appearance)
Wing: Ryan Hall – Leeds Rhinos (4th appearance)
Centre: Michael Shenton – Castleford Tigers (1st appearance)
Centre: Kallum Watkins – Leeds Rhinos (1st appearance)
Wing: Tommy Makinson – St Helens (1st appearance)
Stand-off: Kevin Brown – Widnes Vikings (1st appearance)
Scrum-half: Matty Smith – Wigan Warriors (2nd appearance)
Prop: Jamie Peacock – Leeds Rhinos (10th appearance)
Hooker: Daryl Clark – Castleford Tigers (1st appearance)
Prop: Chris Hill – Warrington Wolves (2nd appearance)
Second Row: Elliot Whitehead – Catalan Dragons (1st appearance)
Second Row: Carl Ablett – Leeds Rhinos (1st appearance)
Loose Forward: Sean O’Loughlin – Wigan Warriors (5th appearance)