CASTLEFORD TIGERS have been streets ahead of the rest of the competition all season, so when the time came to name the 2017 Super League Dream Team, it was always clear that they would dominate.
The Tigers have managed to secure six spots on the all-star XIII, with Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Greg Eden, Mike McMeeken, Michael Shenton and Grant Millington all being named.
Gale and Hardaker have also been shortlisted for the Man of Steel Award – Hardaker already has one, won in 2015 – and the third nominee, Albert Kelly was one of two Hull FC players in the Dream Team, along with winger Mahe Fonua.
Leeds, who finished second in the Super League table, have just one representative, Aussie hooker Matt Parcell. The rest of the Dream Team were spread across four other clubs: Huddersfield prop Sebastine Ikahihifo, Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin, St Helens centre Mark Percival and Salford second rower Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Castleford’s six players equals the second best crop in any single year. Last year’s Hull FC side also had six Dream Team nominees, while the all-time record is held by Wigan Warriors in 2001, with seven.
As for individuals, Luke Gale and Mahe Fonua are the only players to retain their place from last year, with Gale making it a hat-trick of seasons in which he has been named as the best scrum half in the Super League. He has 3 total nominations, while Sean O’Loughlin now has 6, having been chosen in 5 consecutive years from 2010 to 2014. Michael Shenton and Zak Hardaker make their third appearance, both having won a spot in 2014 and 2015 as well as 2017.