The Steve Prescott Man of Steel is the greatest individual accolade a Rugby League star can win; it's chosen by fellow players, and it's a sign that you are both respected and looked up to by those that play the sport. The award itself should be treated with the respect it deserves, it is, after all, named in honour of one of the most inspirational characters to have ever stepped foot on a Rugby League field: Steve Prescott. But, this year's Man of Steel vote was rife with idiocy, to the point at which the award's image has been tarnished.

Why it should be taken seriously

Following Prescott's death in November 2013 after a long and arduous battle with stomach cancer following his diagnosis in October 2006, a group of committed people campaigned for the prestigious Man of Steel award to be renamed after Steve. Over 12,000 people signed a petition calling for the Rugby Football League to adopt the name and, in March 2014, the governing body duly obliged.

Prescott - a winner of two Challenge Cups and one Super League with St Helens - himself, was a fantastic person. He alone created the Steve Prescott Foundation in 2007 and went on to organise a series of money-raising initiatives. Incredibly, Prescott raised nearly half a million pounds for charity through the foundation and was awarded an MBE in 2009 for his efforts.

After a long battle with the disease, he died aged 39 - seven years after he was diagnosed and given just months to live by doctors.

Idiotic responses

Those that voted stupidly for the Man of Steel - not least the whole of the Catalans Dragons team should have been made to understand why the award should be thought highly of and respected before they voted.

Romain Navarrete, the former Catalans forward, was voted Man of Steel by four Dragons players still at the French club. To add insult to injury, Jason Baitieri’s three votes went to Greg Burke, Jake Bibby and Craig Hall - all of whom received no other votes. Lambert Belmas had Hull KR's Chris Aitken as his first choice for Man of Steel, despite the fact his name is actually Atkin.

But, the icing on the cake was Mickael Simon. His third-placed vote went to Danny Addy, who hasn’t played a single minute all year due to injury.

Clearly agreed beforehand, Leeds' Ash Handley and Castleford's Alex Foster voted for each other; Warrington’s Toby King voted for Huddersfield youngster Louis Senior as his Man of Steel, and Hull FC's Jez Litten even got a vote. Some might say that players can vote how they want, but surely a line has been crossed. Votes such as these make a mockery of the whole process, and it needs to be stamped out. In fact, the way the Catalans players voted was reminiscent of school days, signing the register with a funny name in order to get a cheap laugh out of your friends - or in this case fellow players.

Removing the players' vote

But, bearing in mind that these are professional Rugby League players, it is disgraceful. Legend Garry Schofield has had his own rant on Twitter and with good reason; they are taking the mickey out of Steve's memory, and it should be punished. Fine those who can't take it seriously - if it hits them in the wallet, they will not do it in future - or strip the players of a vote altogether. Coaches are perhaps better placed to give a more reliable view - although they already vote for the Coach of the Year - though giving the fans the opportunity to vote is always likely to yield biased results.

Giving the players the chance to vote for their peers should be an honour, but the kind of immature behaviour witnessed by a handful of Super League players does not exactly send out the right message.

Make the idiots pay for their ridiculous voting or take this honour away from them altogether. Whatever the outcome, Steve Prescott's image is being tarnished and, for that alone, something should be done.