Castleford Tigers' Liam Watts in the frame for Steve Prescott Man of Steel

CASTLEFORD TIGERS prop Liam Watts is one of five players in contention to win the 2019 Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

Castleford Tigers' Liam Watts (PIC: SWPIX)

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However, Watts - the only forward in the running - faces stiff competition to claim the competition’s top individual award given the calibre of his fellow nominations.

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Warrington Wolves stand-off Blake Austin, St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote, Salford Red Devils scrum-half Jackson Hastings and Wigan Warriors stand-off George Williams are all in the frame.

Salford's Jackson Hastings, far left, and Wigan's George Williams (holding Super League trophy) are in the running for Steve Prescott Man of Steel. Other players at play-offs launch are Warrington Wolves' Josh Charnley, St Helens' Luke Thompson and Castleford's Cheyse Blair (PIC: SWPIX)

A panel of expert judges, led by former Leeds, Wigan and Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley MBE, have been awarding points to the top three performers in every Betfred Super League game this season.

When voting ‘went dark’ after round 22 – when scores for individual performances stopped being publically published – Australians Austin and Hastings were tied for the lead.

However, strong displays from a number of players in the closing seven rounds of the regular season now has people wondering just who will emerge as the victor when announced during the Betfred Super League Awards at the Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays, on October 6.

Hanley, the only player to win three Man of Steel awards since its inception in 1977, said: “The panellists have been lucky to have witnessed first-hand some exceptional performances this season.

“I have often watched games back before awarding points at the matches I’ve been judging and that has helped me appreciate even more the range of skill and determination of so many players.

“The five guys in contention have been pivotal to their team’s success this season and for that they deserve recognition.

“But only one person can win and we look forward to finding out who that is at the Super League Awards next month.”

This is the first year of the revamped Man of Steel Awards.

The new format will be a 90-minute cinematic presentation, built around content from the Leeds-based filmmakers The City Talking, whose recent work includes the Amazon Prime documentary Take Us Home: Leeds United.