This week was the announcement of the 2018 Super League Dream Team and here Get ’em Onside takes a look at some of the players who could have counted themselves unlucky.
Full Back – Ben Barba
An obvious choice earlier in the season, St Helens’ departing star Ben Barba suffered from a bit of a slump towards the end of the season but still ended as the top scorer in the competition. There is no doubting his ability but it could be argued that Warrington Wolves’ star Stefan Ratchford would have cause to feel disappointed to have missed out. The winner of the highly regarded Albert Goldthorpe medal, the former Salford man has impressed as Steve Price’s Wolves recovered from finishing in The Qualifiers last season to finish fourth in the Super League table, last night reaching the Grand Final. Having a direct hand in thirty four tries (fifteen tries, nineteen assists) for Wire this season, he has been a consistent dangerman throughout and he will no doubt play a big part for Warrington next weekend as well as for England in their end of season internationals.
Stand off – Jonny Lomax
There is no doubt this has been an impressive year for the 28-year-old. Moved from his favoured full-back position at the end of last season to accomodate Barba, Lomax has shone in the number six role for the League Leaders’ Shield winners and has often been a key man in their victories. However, it could be argued that Wakefield’s Jacob Miller has been equally as impressive – if not more so. While Lomax has hugely talented players around him, many with international reputations and honours to their name, Miller doesn’t have the same sort of quality around him – that isn’t to do a disservice to the Trinity players, many of whom are hugely talented. Being the competition’s most prolific provider of assists is no mean feat for a team who finished fifth and didn’t have much to compete for throughout the Super 8s. The former Hull FC player has developed into something of a leader for the Belle Vue team and will be key for them if they are to, indeed, improve on their consecutive fifth placed finishes in 2019.Embed from Getty Images
Hooker – James Roby
A true warrior of the sport, James Roby earned his sixth Dream Team spot and there is simply no doubting his quality. The 32-year-old is a master of his craft and both his passes and runs from dummy half are exemplary. He has been superb throughout 2018 but, in a Saints team packed full of quality and fortunate enough to have been close to full fitness throughout the season, some would suggest he has had it a touch easier than Castleford’s hooker Paul McShane. Many are questioning what the former Leeds man has to do to earn international honours and, even after a season where the 28-year-old won player of the year awards in the club’s ceremony, he missed out on a maiden selection in the Dream Team. In a Castleford team which has seen key players absent at various times throughout the season, McShane has had to take on a role in the halves as well as a real leader for Daryl Powell’s men and he has succeeded. In addition to that, he has been an absolute workhorse for the Tigers, recording a league high 1160 number of tackles in Super League this season. He has showcased his skill and rugby brain throughout the season and perhaps, alongside Warrington’s Daryl Clark, may be ruing the fact that they seem to be playing in an era of great English hookers.Embed from Getty Images