The Super League Dream Team for 2015 has been named today. The side includes four players from the Leeds Rhinos who have won the League leaders shield and Challenge Cup so far this season.
Wigan, Saints, Huddersfield and Castleford all have two players in the team. Whilst French side Catalan have one player in the thirteen.
Here is the side –
Full-back – Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos) – Hardaker is one of the three nominees up for the Man of Steel award so his position at full-back in the dream team was a no-brainer. Often marred by some off field controversies there is no doubting that Hardaker’s talent is fully deserved of a place in the side. He always seems to be involved in everything good Leeds do in attack with 10 tries and 6 try assists to his name including an absolute wonderful solo effort against Warrington. The young Englishman is also third in metres gained this season which highlights his brilliant kick-return game.
Winger – Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) – The Huddersfield winger currently sits atop the Super League try-scoring charts with an impressive 27 tries in 30 appearances this season. In fact, McGillvary has scored in all but 3 of his last 15 games including and is currently on a streak of scoring in 7 consecutive matches. This formidable run includes braces against Wigan, Catalan and Castleford as well as 4 against Warrington. McGillvary is also one of the most powerful wingers in the league as proven by his dangerous kick-returns which have amounted to him making 33 clean breaks this season.
Centre – Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers) – Shenton makes the team for a second consecutive season as he continues to play the role of captain fantastic at Castleford. Guided by Daryll Powell he has again led his Castleford comrades to another surprising season as they finished just outside the semi-final places. Shenton has crossed the line on 14 occasion this campaign however his contribution is much more than that. He has provided 11 try assists which explains as to why Denny Solomona has the try-scoring record he does with Shenton as his centre.
Centre – Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos) – There is absolutely no doubt that Kallum Watkins is one of, if not the, most exciting player in Super League right now. The Centres mix of pace, power and pure athleticism make him an absolute nightmare for defences particularly when he’s coming off service from the likes of McGuire, Sinfield, Hardaker and Burrow. Watkins has scored 15 tries this season. Early on a few claimed that they were coming against the somewhat ‘lesser’ sides in the league however since then he has gone on to score against the likes of Saints, Warrington and Wigan. Even after missing a handful of games through injury his inclusion in the side was inevitable.
Winger – Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) – The second winger role goes to Wigan youngster Joe Burgess who makes the dream team for the first time just before he makes his move over to Australia. Burgess is close to McGillvary with his 23 tries this season which included back-to-back hat-tricks against Wakefield and Hull KR in the Summer. An indication as to how well Burgess and fellow Wigan winger Dom Manfredi have performed is they have kept former dream team player Josh Charnley out for the majority of the campaign.
Scrum-half – Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) – Scotsman Danny Brough makes it into the dream team for the 2nd time after another impressive season with the Giants. Brough is vital to everything Huddersfield bring to the table in terms of their attack. Their impressive back-line with the likes of McGillvary, Murphy and Cudjoe thrives off having a player with the ability and vision which Brough does. This is why Brough has 31 try assists to his name this season, more than any other player and the reason he takes the scrum-half role in this side.
Stand-off – Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) – The second Castleford player to make the side is stand-off and key playmaker Luke Gale. Gale has really stepped up for the Tigers this season making them a force to be reckoned with in attack which has led many to throw his name into the England mix-up. With 11 tries and 27 try assist from the stand-off role it is clear to see why Cas have been such a potent threat this season with Gale at the centre of it all. There is no doubting Gale will be delighted with his position in the dream team but surely the England call-up would cap his season off well.
Prop – Alex Walmsley (St Helens) – Alex Walmsley has been a powerhouse for the Saints this season and has helped force them into the semi-final places. Walmsley’s size and physical presence has allowed the Saints to bully teams in the forwards with Walmsley making the most metres out of any player this season with 4092. Not only does Walmsley hold the title for the most metres but his work ethic in getting Saints out of trouble is apparent by him having taken more carries than any other player this season. There is no wonder that Walmsley is one of the three in the running to be named man of steel.
Hooker – James Roby (St Helens) – Roby gets his name on dream team sheet for a 4th time but surprisingly its his first appearance since 2012 however his tendency to struggle with injuries has been a factor in this. Roby is thriving once again under the tutelage of the legendary Kieran Cunningham at Langtree Park. He has once again got himself over the 1000 mark in terms of tackles in defence whilst again topping the table for the most runs from dummy half. It is these well timed jinking runs that catch sides out of position to which his Saints teammates take advantage.
Prop – Jamie Peacock (Leeds Rhinos) – Leeds veteran Jamie Peacock makes the Super League dream team for an unbelievable 11th time at the age of 36. Every year the critics doubt whether Peacock will be able to meet his own high standards for another season…but yet again he’s managed it. He has been a pivotal forward in Leeds’ double, possibly triple, winning campaign thus far. He has seen off tough competition from the likes of Castleford’s Grant Millington and Andy Lynch, Huddersfield’s Craig Huby and Warrington duo Chris Hill and Ashton Sims to earn his place in the side again.
Second Row – Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons) – The only Catalan man to make it into the thirteen is Kiwi Zeb Taia who has had another wonderful season in the South of France. Taia has managed to score 12 tries from the second-rower which is a huge contribution the the Catalan side. His stern defensive efforts have also been a major reason as to why Catalan have been such a force at home. His second-row partner Elliot Whitehead has also had a solid season down in France but may have been narrowly edged out by Taia.
Second Row – Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors) – Farrell is the only forward for Wigan to make it into the dream team this season. Farrell has grabbed 12 tries this season which is an indication of the threat he can provide with his immaculate line running from the second-row position. He has also been a key figure in the Warriors tough defence which is now the best in the Super League. This position, similarly to the other second-row position, could have been a toss-up between two players at the same club as John Bateman has also had a terrific season.
Loose Forward – Adam Cuthbertson (Leeds Rhinos) – The final nominee for the man of steel award is Adam Cuthbertson and he takes the Loose Forward role in the dream team. Cuthbertson has had an amazing season being instrumental in all Leeds’ success in his debut season. The majority of fans have been urging him to pledge allegiance to England so that Steve McNamara can call him up for the upcoming test against the Kiwis. Cuthbertson has been a major threat for all the sides with his offload game having offloaded the ball double the amount of times than any over player in the league.