Micky McIlorum believes there should be “no contest” for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award – because John Bateman deserves the honour.
The departing Wigan forward is on a shortlist with St Helens duo James Roby and Ben Barba to be crowned Super League’s best player this year.
All three players were last week included in the fictitious Dream Team – a line-up selected by the media – and Roby edged both to win the Rugby League Writers’ Association prize.
But ex-Warriors favourite McIlorum expects Bateman to take home the main prize from a glitzy dinner in Manchester tomorrow (Monday) night.
McIlorum said: “He’s been a stand-out player for a number of seasons now but for one reason or another certain players don’t get the recognition that they should do.
“Sometimes supporters and journalists don’t see what fellow players see.
“He does certain things in a game that his team-mates really appreciate.
“It’s about time he was in amongst it. He keeps on getting man-of-the-match awards, it would be nice to see him win the Man Of Steel.
“I’m really happy he’s on the short-list because I know how hard he works.
“I personally think he should walk it, it shouldn’t be a contest. And after that, I’m confident he will be a big success in the NRL.”
McIlorum was named Catalans’ player of the season after his first year in the south of France – he even took his dogs on the pitch for their final game last weekend, while many of his team-mates walked out with their children!