NAMING rugby league’s Man of Steel award after the great Steve Prescott will ensure his name echoes through the sport’s ages like the titles of Lance Todd and Harry Sunderland.
That is the view of Steve’s widow Linzi after it was confirmed the British sport’s most prestigious individual honour in the sport will named after the former Saints player, who fought an immense battle with cancer before dying at the age of 39 last November.
From October this year, the player who makes the biggest impact on the First Utility Super League season will be crowned the Steve Prescott Man of Steel.
The RFL’s proposal to rename the honour – which followed an online campaign by supporters that secure the backing of high profile players - received unanimous support from the 14 First Utility Super League clubs at their extraordinary general meeting last week.
The Man of Steel honour which has been awarded annually since its inception in 1977.
In a joint statement Super League chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer and RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “It is absolutely right that the player whose on field heroics capture the imagination of his peers is presented with an award named in recognition of the sport’s ultimate hero.
“Although he never won the award himself, Steve Prescott really was a man of steel, a truly outstanding individual who was universally respected by all who knew him and those who watched or read about his exploits.”
Steve’s family and charitable foundation believe the honour will secure his place in the sport’s history, mirroring how the names of Lance Todd (the trophy awarded to the Challenge Cup final man of the match) and Harry Sunderland (Grand Final man of the match) have done.
Linzi Prescott said: “It is a fitting tribute to a man who showed so much grit and determination in face of adversity.
“Stephen's name will forever live on and be known alongside such rugby league greats as Lance Todd and Harry Sunderland.
“We are extreme my grateful to Super League Europe and its clubs’ owners who have sanctioned this move and they have recognised how Stephen has promoted this great game through his efforts, and we on behalf do his foundation will continue to do so.”
Mike Denning, chairman of the SPF, said: “The fact that his name will always be linked to this prestigious award will forever be a reminder of what a special husband, dad and person he was.
“Stephen would be delighted, honoured and a little embarrassed by this announcement but we are all extremely proud.
“A massive thank you to all who have supported the renaming of this award and in particular those fans who petitioned to the Rugby Football League showing their respect for Stephen.”
Steve’s life and career will be celebrated in a ‘Super League Supermen’ special on Sky Sports (Thursday, March 6).