Aussies Field, Croft duel for Man of Steel

·2-min read

Australian Super League stars Jai Field and Brodie Croft have been short-listed for the top individual prize in British rugby league - the Man of Steel award as the player of the year.

Wigan flyer Field and Salford's five-eighth Croft are in line to battle to become the eighth Australian to win the top honour, while the three-man shortlist released on Thursday is completed by St Helens' English utility back Jack Welsby.

Fullback Field, who played at St George Illawarra and Parramatta, has been a beathtaking force with the Warriors this season, following his injury-ruined 2021 debut campaign in Super League.

Timed at 36.1kph in one match this season, he's the fastest player in the league, with his defence-busting acceleration having helped him to 20 tries and 24 try assists this season, while he also earned a Challenge Cup winners' medal

Between them, Field and another former Eel French have scored 51 tries this term.

Croft, meanwhile, has been the outstanding playmaker in the league for the Salford Red Devils, which has reportedly had NRL clubs sniffing around about the prospect of a return home for the Melbourne Storm product who suffered a hard time at Brisbane Broncos.

Salford are keen to keep hold of the man who's guided them to the playoffs with a brilliant run in the second half of the season. His existing deal with the club runs out at the end of next season.

Croft is hoping to be the first Australian winner of the Man of Steel since 2019 when Jackson Hastings, another Salford recruit from the NRL, took the award. He's now back in Australia with West Tigers.

Salford's executive director Paul King told Rugby League Live: "In 2018, we had another young Aussie (Hastings) come over here who had all sorts kicked out of him by their system and media.

"He fell out of love with the game but he rediscovered it here at Salford, and we felt the same could be true for Brodie."

The winner of the Man of Steel, based on weekly points decided by an expert panel, will be announced on September 19.

AUSTRALIAN WINNERS OF THE MAN OF STEEL AWARD:

1986 Gavin Miller (Hull KR)

1999 Adrian Vowles (Castleford)

2005 Jamie Lyon (St Helens)

2009 Brett Hodgson (Huddersfield)

2010 Pat Richards (Wigan)

2018 Ben Barba (St Helens)

2019 Jackson Hastings (Salford)