Eight former Wigan stars on Steve Prescott Man of Steel Award panel

Ellery Hanley
Ellery Hanley

Eight former Wigan players are among a panel of who's who chosen to select the 2019 Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

The 21-strong panel, chaired by three-time Man of Steel winner Ellery Hanley, also includes former Wigan stars Martin Offiah, Denis Betts, Phil Clarke, Jerome Guisset, Barrie McDermott, Terry O'Connor and dual-code international Jason Robinson.

Rugby League Hall of Fame members Malcolm Reilly and Johnny Whiteley and ex-England captains Jamie Peacock and Paul Sculthorpe are also included.

The full panel, which also includes former French international Guisset, was unveiled at a launch in Leeds, where the points awarded from the second round of Betfred Super League were announced.

Under a new structure introduced as part of Super League chief executive Robert Elstone's #NewBeginnings theme, the panel members are each week allocated matches from which they select the top three players.

The scores are announced each week until round 22 in mid-July when the leaderboard will be hidden until the awards ceremony in October.

More recently, the prestigious award was determined by a poll of current Super League players but not all of them took the task seriously.

Elstone said: "It feels wholly appropriate that the game's highest individual award, with over 40 years of heritage, be selected by a panel of iconic and multi-decorated former players."

The full panel comprises Ellery Hanley, Denis Betts, Phil Clarke, Paul Cooke, Eorl Crabtree, Jonathan Davies, Jerome Guisset, Robbie Hunter-Paul, Chris Joynt, Andy Lynch, Barrie McDermott, Adrian Morley, Terry O'Connor, Martin Offiah, Jamie Peacock, Mal Reilly, Jason Robinson, Garry Schofield, Paul Sculthorpe, Keith Senior and Johnny Whiteley.

Hanley said: "The panel is an outstanding group of former players from across the generations who have experience of playing at the very top of the game, with seven of the group being Man of Steel winners and five inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"Their insight is priceless and will shape the worthy winner of the game's ultimate individual accolade."