12th February 2019, 09:47 | super_league
To make over 400 club appearances in a Rugby League career is something special, to make all those appearances for one club, especially your hometown club, that is exceptional, but the new Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel panellists are far from ordinary – they’re exceptional.
On the field his long blonde hair would be tied up, now his hair flows beyond his shoulders and the man looks in as good physical condition now than when he played.
The former Huddersfield Giants and England prop is one of the 21-man panellists in the new Man of Steel voting system.
“I love the idea behind it, the concept makes perfect sense. I think the panel is made up of legends (and myself) which is quite nice to be surrounded by search great players.
“It’s better for the game and it’s the right way to do things and that’s the good thing about Rugby League, what we try to do, is try and move forward with the times, and it’s fantastic to do that,” said Crabtree.
As part of Super League’s ‘New Beginnings’ campaign, the Man of Steel panellists for the new voting system was announced on Monday night and it will be chaired by a legend, Ellery Hanley MBE.
Crabtree admitted: “Ellery Hanley, what an absolute legend to be heading this Man of Steel panel.
“I think all the lads involved are just looking forward to getting into it – I can’t wait for my first game – it’s something that you take with pride.
“I’m very proud of the fact I have been given this opportunity, and I feel privileged.”
The award goes far beyond just the Man of Steel – the most prestigious individual honour in Rugby League – it’s a memory of the sport’s most respected player, Steve Prescott MBE.
Prescott MBE, a former St Helens, Hull, Wakefield, Ireland and England player who raised over £500,000 for charitable causes after being diagnosed with a terminal disease in 2006.
“It’s such a big award but it goes far beyond the award for me, Steve Prescott MBE is someone that I admired as a person – as a player he was fantastic – he was something special as a person.
“When I played for England, he presented me with my shirt before the game and that means more to me than what Rugby League does,” announced Crabtree.
The former England international knows what it takes to win a Man of Steel, he’s played with two players that have won it, Danny Brough and Brett Hodgson.
He joked: “Well, to be fair I think they’d probably give all the credit to me!
“The difference probably for us (Huddersfield), is we were in a team that probably weren’t expected to have a Man of Steel winner.
“Danny Brough was an unbelievably tenacious talent, horrible little thing at times but he was unbelievable, he was ruthless in what he does, and he has that ability to win games.
“Brett Hodgson was just a special talent, who was super smart.
“The decisions he made in games was unbelievable but ultimately you have to be in a pack that wants to go forward and a team that’s not making errors, they’re winning games and scoring tries.”
A member of the panel will watch each Betfred Super League game in 2019 and award points to the 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 scores will be made public every week, until Round 22 in mid-July. After that, the poll will be hidden until the Awards Ceremony in October.