SAM Tomkins has been crowned Super League’s Man of Steel.
He was presented with the coveted award at a gala dinner in Manchester by Olympic hero and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.
And it proved a successful night for Wigan Warriors – named Club of the Year for a second time in three years.
Full-back Tomkins described his Man of Steel prize as “a massive honour.”
He was voted the best player in the league by his peers, just 12 months after surprisingly missing out on the award to Castleford’s Kiwi halfback Rangi Chase.
This season Tomkins, 23, has scaled new heights and cemented his place as England’s biggest league star.
Off-the-field his profile has rocketed. He was handed his own segment on Sky Sports, he has struck up friendships with sporting icons Wiggins, Rio Ferdinand and Danny Cipriani and signed a deal with Steeden to market a ball in his name.
But it is on the field where he has really caught the eye, scoring 35 tries in 29 appearances in all competitions including a double hat-trick in a Challenge Cup win against NW Crusaders.
Tomkins beat Warrington’s Ben Westwood and St Helens hooker James Roby to the Man of Steel, and becomes the club’s ninth different recipient of the title after Pat Richards, Andy Farrell (twice), Denis Betts, Andy Platt, Dean Bell, Shaun Edwards, Ellery Hanley (twice with Wigan) and George Fairbairn.
Despite crashing out of the Grand Final race last Friday, Wigan were the big winners at the dinner – hosted by Sky’s Eddie Hemmings – at Lancashire Cricket Club last night.
They also took home the Club of the Year prize in honour of their league leaders’ shield triumph, their record average attendances and their work in the community, including strengthening ties with Wales RL.
Warriors winger Josh Charnley was also congratulated after finishing the season as Super League’s top try-scorer, with 31.
But Shaun Wane missed out on Coach of the Year to Australian boss Mick Potter, who stayed at Bradford during their financial troubles.
Leeds’ Zak Hardaker (Young Player of the Year) and Danny McGuire (Community Champion) were honoured, while the Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award, in memory of the former Wigan coach, was presented to Jamie Peacock.
Retiring Ryan Hudson, Danny Orr (both Castleford) and Ben Jeffries (Bradford) received Lifetime Achievement Awards.