Salford Red Devils talisman Jackson Hastings was announced as the 2019 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel at the Super League Awards on Sunday.
The Australian has been instrumental in guiding the Red Devils to a shock Grand Final appearance – they will face St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday – and was an understandably popular winner of the night’s biggest honour at The Lowry Theatre in Salford.
Hastings, who received a rousing ovation as he collected the prize, beat off competition from Warrington Wolves playmaker Blake Austin, Saints full-back Lachlan Coote, Wigan Warriors half-back George Williams and Castleford Tigers prop Liam Watts to become the first Salford player to be named Man of Steel.
“It’s obviously the greatest achievement I’ve had in my career,” said Hastings, whose career has been revived at Salford following his controversial departure from Manly Sea Eagles in 2018.
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) October 6, 2019
Points were handed out to star performers by a panel of experts on a 3-2-1 basis throughout the season, but scoring was kept secret from Round 22 in mid-July, when Hastings and Austin were level atop the leaderboard.
Austin was hampered by injury in the closing months of the season as Warrington’s title challenge faded, but Hastings has gone from strength to strength and will hope to end his Salford career in style in Manchester next weekend before joining Wigan for 2020.
“I don’t really want to think about it just yet, he added when asked about the upcoming clash with Saints. “We’re playing against the best team in the comp by a mile … we’re going to throw the kitchen sink and see what we can do.”
Hastings also won the Fans’ Entertainer of the Year prize, while St Helens players took away the Young Player of the Year and Top Try-Scorer gongs, courtesy of Matty Lees and Tommy Makinson respectively.
Justin Holbrook, who will return to Australia with Gold Coast Titans following the Grand Final, was named Coach of the Year after St Helens dominated the regular season once again to pick up the League Leaders’ Shield.
Retiring Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan was honoured with the Spirit of Super League award. Leeds’ Courtney Hill was named Woman of Steel, succeeding Castleford’s Georgia Roche – the inaugural winner of the award in 2018.