CASTLEFORD TIGERS celebrated on Tuesday night as they claimed three major awards at the Betfred Super League Man of Steel dinner in Manchester.
Their England scrum-half Luke Gale beat team-mate Zak Hardaker, who came second, and Hull FC’s Albert Kelly to the prestigious Steve Prescott Man of Steel as the competition’s best player this term.
Furthermore, Castleford chief Daryl Powell won Coach of the Year – voted by fellow top-flight bosses and having also won it in 2014 – while the West Yorkshire outfit was named Club of the Year following their exploits in 2017.
Tigers romped to a maiden League Leaders’ Shield, finishing 10 points clear of nearest rivals Leeds Rhinos who they face in Saturday’s Grand Final at Old Trafford – their first appearance.
Prolific Castleford have been praised throughout this season for their expansive style of football – winger Greg Eden was also presented with Super League’s top-tryscorer trophy last night having crossed 38 times – and saw six players make the Dream Team.
They have increased their attendances by 13 per cent in the regular season, 23 per cent when incorporating the Super 8s fixtures, and hope to round things off by lifting the league title for the first time in their 91-year history
Gale, 29, is the fourth Castleford player to claim Man of Steel, voted for by his peers, after Adrian Vowles (1999), Rangi Chase (2011) and Daryl Clark (2014).
He claimed 481 votes, narrowly beating Tigers full-back and 2015 Man of Steel Hardaker (449), Kelly amassing 267 with Hull team-mate Mahe Fonua (158) in fourth.
Powell gained seven votes as Coach of the Year with Wakefield Trinity’s Chris Chester garnering the remaining five selections, including that of the Castleford chief’s own nod.
Tigers chief executive Steve Gill collected the Club of the Year award and dedicated it to the late Jack Fulton, the club’s benevelent former chairman, and his late wife Bridie.
Meanwhile, Wigan Warriors centre Oliver Gildart picked up the Young Player of the Year award.
Castleford’s retiring prop Andy Lynch, after 452 Super League games, was presented with an outstanding achievement in Super League award for making more than 200 appearances.
Others who have retired – or are set to retire – who were celebrated in this fashion were Leeds’s Rob Burrow, Huddersfield Giants’ Eorl Crabtree, Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis, Doncaster’s Iafeta Palea’aesina, ex-Bradford Bulls ace Leon Pryce, Catalans’ Thomas Bosc and Widnes’s Chris Bridge.