Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker beat off stiff competition to be named the 2015 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel.
Shortlisted alongside team-mate Adam Cuthbertson and St Helens forward Alex Walmsley, the 23-year-old England player has been in fine form this season and received the award as the stand-out performer in 2015 at the First Utility Super League Man of Steel dinner held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester.
Hardaker, who was crowned Super League Young Player of the Year in 2012, has been at the heart of Leeds’ attack and defence this year, playing a major role in their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup victory and helping the Rhinos secure the League Leaders trophy, in what has been one of the closest end to a season in 20 years.
Hardaker secured the award following a two-part selection process incorporating a ballot of every Super League player before the final decision was made by specially convened five-man Man of Steel Selection Panel.
Wigan Warriors stand-off George Williams picked up the Young Player of the Year award. Inheriting the number six shirt after Blake Green left the club, the 20-year-old has formed a successful partnership with scrum-half Matty Smith, becoming one of the most exciting half-backs to watch in the league.
It has been a memorable year for Leeds Rhinos and they were named 2015 Super League Club of the Year for their hard work in ensuring attendances grew at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium, managing player welfare throughout the season from the youth development up to the first team and being the top performers in all competitions.
Their coach Brian McDermott was named Coach of the Year, as voted for by his fellow peers in the game. Announced as Leeds Rhinos head coach in October 2010, McDermott has guided the team to two Grand Final trophies, back to back Challenge Cup victories, a World Club Challenge win and will lead his players out at Old Trafford on Saturday in the Super League Grand Final against Wigan Warriors.
Departing captain, Kevin Sinfield picked up the Super League Top Gun award for having the best successful kicking percentage over the course of the season. Hull FC hooker Danny Houghton made the most tackles in 2015 with 1359, making him Super League’s Hit Man of the year. Alex Walmsley of St Helens was awarded the Metre Maker prize after racking up a total of 4092 metres for his club this year. The Top Try-Scorer accolade went to Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary. He topped the charts with 27 tries after a great season with the Giants.
Warrington Wolves were named the Super League Foundation of the Year for the second year running. They impressed the review panel with the range of projects they are involved in, all of which place the club right at the heart of life in its local community. The Foundation is leading the way on the seven-year Sky Try development programme. Figures for the programme are excelling and creating some wonderful new opportunities for youngsters to play the sport and benefit from the experience.
Retiring Super League players Garreth Carvell (293 appearances), Ade Gardner (266), Lee Gilmour (407), Wayne Godwin (235), Kylie Leuluai (225), Adrian Morley (316), Jamie Peacock MBE (436), Kevin Sinfield MBE (452), Chev Walker (258) and Paul Wellens (439) were also presented with Outstanding Contribution Awards to mark their long service to the competition having made over 200 Super League appearances.
The award winners in full from the 2015 First Utility Super League Man of Steel awards are as follows:
Hit man – Danny Houghton (Hull FC) – 1,359 tackles
Top metre maker – Alex Walmsley (St Helens) – 4,092 metres
Top try-scorer – Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) – 27 tries
Top Gun – Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) – 85.37 percent
Outstanding Contribution – Garreth Carvell, Ade Gardnet, Lee Gilmour, Wayne Godwin, Kylie Leuluai, Adrian Morley, Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Chev Walker, Paul Wellens.
Foundation of the Year – Warrington Wolves
First Utility Super League Club of the Year – Leeds Rhinos
First Utility Super League Young Player of the Year – George Williams (Wigan Warriors)
First Utility Super League Coach of the Year – Brian McDermott (Leeds Rhinos)
The Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel – Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos)