Catalans Dragons and England full-back Sam Tomkins named 2021 Man of Steel

Catalans Dragons full-back Sam Tomkins has been named 2021 Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

The 32-year-old England captain, who won the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association’s player-of-the-year award last week, fought off competition from Jordan Abdull (Hull KR), Jake Connor (Hull), Jonny Lomax (St Helens) and Gareth Widdop (Warrington) to win the prestigious award for the second time.

In a double for the French club, who the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time this season and will take on St Helens in Saturday’s Grand Final at Old Trafford, Dragons boss Steve McNamara was voted coach of the year.

Huddersfield Giants v Catalans Dragons – Betfred Super League – John Smith’s Stadium
Sam Tomkins (right) celebrates a try with his Catalans team-mate Tom Davies (Richard Sellers/PA)

Tomkins, who first won the big prize 2012 during his time at Wigan, said: “It’s obviously a huge honour to receive the Man of Steel award.

“It always comes off the back of some great team performances and I feel lucky to be playing in a great team at Catalans.

“It was a long time ago when I won it for the first time. Somebody sent me some pictures from the time and I was just a young kid enjoying playing rugby.

“I’m a very different person at a different stage in life now, I’m married with four children and I’d say it means a little bit more to me as I know I’ve not got another 10 years of playing the game.

“I’ve changed as you do with age. I’ve slowed down but I’ve become smarter and I know now I’m a leader with more responsibility to help bring through the younger players.”

Man of Steel chairman Ellery Hanley said: “Sometimes in your life you have to tip your hat and give full praise and credit to an individual.

“Sam Tomkins has been head and shoulders above everyone in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel points this season.

Young player of the year Jack Welsby
Young player of the year Jack Welsby

“Watching his performances this season, he has established himself not only as a marvellous rugby league player, but a fabulous leader of men.

“He has illustrated all season the values and qualities you want all your players to demonstrate in every game they participate in.

“Look deeper into Sam’s game and you will see what he has done to the rest of his team, individually and collectively, in bringing the best out of the Catalans Dragons squad.

“Sam has had a brilliant, majestic and a wonderful season in all facets of the game.”

The Man of Steel was the highlight of the annual Betfred Super League awards night where St Helens captain Jodie Cunningham was named Woman of Steel and St Helens utility player Jack Welsby was named young player of the year.

The top-tackler award went to Wigan forward Joe Shorrocks, Salford winger Ken Sio won the top try-scorer prize and the Loch Lomond Spirit of Super League award, for significant contribution to rugby league off the field, went to former Leeds captain and charity fundraiser Kevin Sinfield.