Wakefield Trinity v Hull KR - Jordan Abdull showing Man of Steel form

ALTHOUGH he was one of Super League’s most decorated stars and remains its greatest try scroer, one of the few awards Danny McGuire never lifted was the Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

Jordan Abdull crosses for a try against Castleford (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

As one of Leeds Rhinos’ serial Grand Final winners, he was not alone in this matter; Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow and all of their Golden Generation also never secured the most prestigious of individual honours.

Indeed, the only Leeds player of that era to do so was Zak Hardaker after the club’s treble exploits in 2015, the first Rhino to claim Man of Steel since Iestyn Harris in 1998.

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Nevertheless, McGuire knows talent, especially of the half-back variety, and that is why – now in his role as Hull KR assistant coach – he is taking particular pleasure in watching Jordan Abdull’s progress this term.

The Rovers stand-off will be a central figure as they head to winless Wakefield Trinity tomorrow, looking to continue their fine form of late.

Abdull’s late try, where he crabbed across the line, played a runaround with Kane Linnett and then showed strength by fending off Pete Mata’utia with surprising ease, saw them win 26-22 at Castleford Tigers on Monday.

Although rated as one of the pre-season relegation favourites, the East Yorkshire club look anything but and are now aiming for a fourth win in five games.

Having struggled to gain a consistent run of form when first emerging on the scene with Hull FC, Abdull clearly benefitted from his season-long loan with Rovers in 2017 but also directing London Broncos when they were in Super League two years ago.

Jordan Abdul scores Hull KR's sixth try against Castleford Tigers. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Now, at the age of 25, all aspects of his game – distribution, kicking and running – seem to be aligning perfectly, illustrated by the fact he is now behind only Jonny Lomax and Sam Tomkins in the early running for Man of Steel.

“After the first couple of weeks, we really challenged the half-backs and nines to step up, control the game and have more involvements in the game,” explained McGuire.

“Since then Jordan has been outstanding. I think he’s been up there as our best player in the last four or five games.

“He’s really maturing into a leader now as well. I think sometimes you forget how old he is as well. You expect him to be late-20s but he’s mid-20s.

Contender: Jordan Abdull of Hull Kingston Rovers is playing himself into the early Man of Steel conversation with his stellar displays for a team tipped by many to be relegation candidates. (Picture: Allan Mckenzie/SWPix.com)

“He’s still got lots to learn but he’s developing into an outstanding player and leader in the team. His control and patience is really good at the minute.

“If you’ve watched Jordan from a young age, he’s got a lot of talent and is a great kicker of the ball.

“But I think he’s now developing that composure and leadership role within the team that everybody has seen recently.”

Abdull signed a new three-year deal just over a week ago and he admitted he is loving his rugby.

He said friends have been reminding him he is high up in the Man of Steel reckoning which is voted for on a weekly basis by legends of the game such as Ellery Hanley, Paul Sculthorpe and Jason Robinson.

Abdull said: “It gives you confidence that people are seeing the impact you are having on games.

“I’m not going to get too carried away with it. I’m not about the individual accolades. It’s more if we get the win as a team.

“I feel really good within myself at the moment and as a team we’re really confident with how we’re going, too.”

That said, he knows Trinity – playing in front of their own fans for the first time in 14 months tomorrow – will be a tricky proposition regardless of their nine-game losing sequence.

Abdull insisted: “I don’t think Wakefield have been bad this season. I know they haven’t won a game but they’ve been within touching distance in plenty of games they have played.

“They’re definitely not playing like a team that hasn’t won a game. It’s going to be a tough one especially in front of their crowd and on their pitch so we’ll definitely be wary.

“We got absolutely hammered there last year and if you give them a sniff they will take you for what it’s worth.

“We need to turn up with the right attitude and put in a good performance and hopefully come away with the two points.”

With Abdull piloting as he is, they are well prepared to do that.

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