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Four stars looking for that final bit of Steel.

ON Wednesday this coming week, the recipient of the 2014 Steve Prescott Man Of Steel Award will be revealed.

The formula for deciding the winner, as best I understand it, is that Super League players have a vote from which a shortlist is compiled and then a panel of experts have the final say.

The purpose is, according to the RFL website, 'to honour the outstanding player in the British game.'.

What we know right now is that there are four potential candidates: James Roby (St Helens), Chris Hill (Warrington), Daryl Clark (Castleford) and Jamie Peacock (Leeds).

So who will be wearing the biggest smile four days from now? James Roby (St Helens) POSITION: Hooker.

There's an argument that Roby should be a Man of Steel contender every season - he actually won it in 2007 - as long as he doesn't miss chunks of it through injury (as was the case in 2013).

If picking the winner was based purely on empirical evidence it's hard to imagine how he could be beaten.

His friend and Saints colleague Jon Wilkin described him this wek in statistical terms as 'a freak.'.

For a start, unlike most hookers, Roby is an 80-minute player. His workrate in both attack and defence is phenomenal.

Warrington | |prop forward Chris Hill His average games are good, his good games are great and his great games are out of this world. His bad games ... don't exist.

In some ways, Roby could be a victim of his own consistency. Being routinely excellent every week means he can somehow sneak under the radar.

Clearly the very fact he's on the shortlist shows he's appreciated by his fellow professionals.

He's also still involved in the play-offs and looking in fine fettle of late so a bit of recency bias might work in his favour.

Chris Hill (Warrington) POSITION: Prop Forward You might file it under the heading of 'he would say that wouldn't he' but I suspect if you asked Wolves coach Tony Smith he'd have no heitation in nominating his frontrower.

Hill is the sort of prop a coach must love.

Rarely does he fail to make ground up the middle and get his team rolling forward on the front foot. He's the classic 'metre eater.'.

He's also durable, consistent with solid defence to match.

The great thing about Hill from a Warrington point of view is that seems to be eager to learn and improve. He joined the club for the 2012 season after impressing with Leigh Centurions in the Championship and has continued to get better.

While not renowned for his ball-handling skills - it's not really his role - he has shown enough to know the difference between a smart offload and a dumb one.

Daryl Clark (Castleford) POSITION: Hooker According to Sky Sports pundit Brian Carney, Clark (pictured right) may have polled up to 75 per cent of the votes cast by his fellow players. That alone probably makes it difficult for the panel to ignore him.

He's been playing for arguably the most entertaining team to watch in Super League this year and he's provide plenty of that sparkle himself.

There can be no fast dummy-half playing the game. Clark is lightning from behind the play-the-ball and if he breaks through he can go the distance.

He hasn't quite got Roby's engine which some might count against him but if it's a 'moments' player you're looking for you can't look any further this season.

He's obviously benefitted from the go-forward of the likes of Craig Huby and Andy Lynch this season and he shouldn't be short of help when he joins Warrington next season and plays alongside the likes of fellow MoS nominee Hill.

The fact that Cas have been a big story this year could have some sway on the outcome but I don't think anyone would be particularly upset if he picked up the gong.

Jamie Peacock (Leeds) POSITION: Prop Forward Hugely popular amongst his peers, JP just goes on and on.

He's 36 now and like Roby is a previous MoS winner - way back in 2003.

Peacock (pictured right) plays long minutes for an 'old' guy and sometimes you get the impression he drags his Leeds team onward almost by an act of will. Although the theory is that it's just about this year's performances, it would de difficult not to take Peacock's long and distinguished career into account.

Although he's carrying on next season, there may be a feeling that this is the last chance to reward him with the big prize.

Then again, whenever I've seen his this year he's played really well.

Sometimes you think he's out on his feet and then he just comes up with another big surge when his team needs it most.


Warrington | |prop forward Chris Hill

Saints' James Roby scores against Castleford Tigers at Langtree Park |

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 4, 2014
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