Get ’em Onside end of season Super League award winners

After the end of the Super League season, voting closed last week for the maiden Get ’em Onside end of season awards – and the winners of the polls were revealed last week on social media.

Player of the Season – JOHN BATEMAN
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With just three votes in it, Wigan’s John Bateman has won the Super League player of the season award after a superb campaign. After announcing his departure, some may have questioned how committed he would be to the Warriors’ Super League challenge – they needn’t have. The England international has led Shaun Wane’s defence heroically and is, without doubt, one of the best players in the league and most important players for the Cherry and Whites. An absolute workhorse, Bateman was one of the league leaders in terms of carries and tackle busts while also being one of Wigan’s best tacklers. He will certainly leave a big hole to fill once he leaves for Canberra Raiders this winter.

Results: 1st John Bateman, 25%, 2nd Paul McShane, 23.7%, 3rd Stefan Ratchford, 17.1%

Young Player of the Season – JAKE TRUEMAN
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Amid serious competition for the young player of the season award from Saints’ star Danny Richardson, Castleford’s Jake Trueman is certainly a worthy winner. Throughout 2018 the Tigers have had lengthy injuries to key players in the halves with Luke Gale, Ben Roberts and Jamie Ellis all having had lay offs. That has left 19-year-old Trueman on occasion as the Tigers’ playmaker in chief and the mere fact that they comfortably held on to third spot in the league ladder is testament to his form. The suggestion that Castleford missed his ability in their semi-final from pundits is again a marker of his quality and he has undoubtedly made in impression in his breakthrough year. Boasting the second most assists in the Tigers’ ranks as well as seven tries, he will hope to build on those numbers in 2019.

Results: 1st Jake Trueman, 30%, 2nd Danny Richardson, 22.4%, 3rd Harvey Livett, 15.8%

Coach of the Season – STEVE MCNAMARA
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After surviving via the Million Pound Game last season, many onlookers may have thought that 2018 would be another season of struggle for Catalans Dragons – but not Steve McNamara. Despite a poor culture at the club, the former England coach was confident in his ability to ensure the Dragons could improve and they certainly have done. After a poor start left them bottom of the table in April, a superb turnaround saw them turn into one of Super League’s form teams towards the end of the regular season, earning them a top eight spot. Claiming scalps along the way, the highest profile would certainly be their Challenge Cup semi-final victory over St Helens on the way to lifting the famous trophy, making history by becoming the first non-English team to win the trophy. A reason for their poor start may be due to having missed the majority of their squad due to World Cup commitments last winter – Catalans had more players involved than any other Super League club – which may bode well for 2019. Without any lengthy off-season international competition this winter, McNamara will be keen to ensure that his team – set to be boosted by the arrival of Sam Tomkins – can carry on their form from the second half of this season.

Results: 1st Steve McNamara, 30.3%, 2nd Daryl Powell, 17.11%, Joint 3rd Shaun Wane and Justin Holbrook, both 15.8%

Signing of the Season – JOSH DRINKWATER
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After experiencing defeat in last season’s Million Pound Game with Leigh Centurions, Australian Josh Drinkwater was released and returned to Australia to play reserve grade rugby with Western Suburbs Magpies. After Catalans half-back Luke Walsh was forced to retire due to injury, Drinkwater returned to Super League with the team who relegated him the year before. His signing seemed to be the catalyst behind the Dragons’ change in form and became an integral part of the team who lifted the Challenge Cup at Wembley. Joining the club in April, Drinkwater still managed an impressive twenty two assists in Super League – the fifth highest in the competition. However, he has recently confirmed that he is to leave the club in the off-season after their signing of Matty Smith, meaning that he will have a third club in three years. He has certainly showcased his talents on the highest stage and will surely be picked up by a top tier club in the not-too-distant future.

Results: 1st Josh Drinkwater, 46%, 2nd Josh Charnley, 25%, 3rd Jackson Hastings, 9.2%

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