As the Super League season in Rugby League heads towards the final few weeks of the regular season, and then into the playoffs to decide the ultimate champions for the year, thoughts will undoubtedly be turning towards the prestigious end of the season awards and the so called 'Man of Steel' accolade. Just what is it and who have been the winners in the past?

The award was first presented in 1977 and is awarded to the outstanding player of the Super League season.

From October 2014, the award will be renamed in honour of the late Steve Prescott, after all 14 Super League teams voted in favour of the suggestion earlier this year. Prescott played for St Helens, Hull and Wakefield at club level and for Ireland and England internationally at full-back.

He was diagnosed in 2006 with a terminal disease and tragically died last November, but not before he had raised around £500,000 for charities through a series of challenging events.

The award involves a poll of all the Super League players in the United Kingdom at the end of the season and then it is ultimately decided by a selection panel based on the names determined from the poll. On October 8th 2014 the winner will be announced at the Man of Steel dinner at the Lancashire County Cricket Club.   

The honours' board for the award includes many of the stars of the sport from yesteryear alongside some of the biggest names of the current cream of the sport. 

Although there have not been too many players that have won it on multiple occasions, three true greats of the sport have indeed achieved that remarkable feat, in recognition of their continued impact on the game during their playing careers. Ellery Hanley won the award three times, first with Bradford and then twice whilst playing for Wigan.

Paul Sculthorpe was a two time winner with St Helens in 2001 and then again in 2002. Andy Farrell (father of current England rugby union star Owen) also took the award twice while with Wigan in 1996 and 2004. Other familiar names to rugby fans with the honour to their name are Martin ('Chariots') Offiah from 1988, Welsh rugby union coach Shaun Edwards and television pundit Jonathan Davies. Last year's winner was Danny Brough of Huddersfield Giants.

Of the current players to have already taken the prize, two of those approaching the twilights of their careers with their number of appearances in Super League in the top ten of all time are Jamie Peacock of Leeds and Paul Wellens of St Helens. Surely, if either of those two were to once more be voted as the winner, no one would begrudge them the honour but there will be many possible names in the running due to the standard of play this season. 

Should Leeds Rhinos clinch the league and cup double, who would argue against captain Kevin Sinfield, or maybe winger Ryan Hall?

If Wigan take the league, their skipper Sean O'Laughlin would be hard to vote against and in doing so would emulate his brother-in-law Farrell. Castleford's great season could also ensure many players voting for their captain Michael Shenton, who has been inspirational all season for them, or star hooker Daryl Clark.