Jamie Jones-Buchanan reckons there would be no more worthy a recipient of the 2013 Man of Steel award than his Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock and predicted such an outcome at the beginning of the season.
Even at 35, Peacock is continuing to produce a string of impressive performances which he hopes will culminate in a record-extending ninth Grand Final win at Old Trafford next month.
Peacock, who will be at the heart of the Rhinos’ bid to get past Warrington this afternoon in the second qualifying play-off, gained recognition for his outstanding season by being named in the 2013 Super League Dream Team on Monday before going on to scoop the top prizes at the club’s annual awards dinner.
He is also expected to be shortlisted next week, along with Huddersfield captain Danny Brough, for the prestigious Man of Steel award he won in 2003.
The Leeds and Wigan players wore specially-designed Man of Steel jerseys to link the Super League award with the release of the latest Superman film for their last league match of the season and that brought a wry smile to the face of Jones-Buchanan.
“I don’t think there’s a player more fitting than Jamie Peacock to wear it,” Jones-Buchanan said.
“At the beginning of the season, I saw an advertisement about the Man of Steel in a book and I took a picture of it and texted it to him ‘saying this is you’.
“I did it because he likes Superman and also I thought there was no reason why he couldn’t be the Man of Steel this year.
“He’s a phenomenal guy and he’s been a real inspiration to me. He’s just a Bramley lad who grew up around the corner from me. I consider myself fortunate to know someone as special as him.
Peacock is just as widely respected by opponents. Warrington captain Adrian Morley, who was Peacock’s right-hand man for England, believes the former Bradford skipper will go down as one of the game’s all-time greats.
“When he stepped down from the international arena, that really did take a weight off his shoulders and gave him the opportunity to concentrate on his club career and I think we are seeing the benefits of that now,” Morley said.