22 Nov 2020

Man of Steel contenders: Aidan Sezer

Is Aidan Sezer your 2020 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel?

Has there been a better signing in 2020 than Aidan Sezer?

The Huddersfield Giants half-back arrived in Super League with a fearsome reputation after guiding Canberra Raiders to the NRL Grand Final in 2019.

His task – to reignite a Giants side who had only just staved off relegation last season.

Luke Robinson, Giants' interim head coach since Simon Woolford left the club, clearly thinks he has.

“He makes players around him better and that's really a testament to him as a person and his character. He instils confidence into everyone else,” he said.

“His knowledge of the game is incredible, and he has a lovely skill-set.”

Okay, Giants didn’t reach the play-offs, but they feel like a team who can compete with the top sides in Super League again, something that Sezer must surely take some credit for.

The 29-year-old made an immediate impact in his first game as a Giant back in February.

He scored 16 points and outplayed fellow Australian, James Maloney – who had just signed for Catalans Dragons – as Giants won 32-12 in Perpignan.

That performance would be a sign of things to come. More success followed with Sezer playing a crucial role in wins over Salford Red Devils, Hull KR and St Helens before Super League came to a halt because of Covid-19.

Giants struggled post-lockdown as their good start to the season unraveled. They lost five matches on the bounce, and Sezer missed two of those games with a hamstring injury. 

However, he was soon back to doing what he does best. 

A three assist performance against Wakefield Trinity, in Robinson's first game as interim boss, also included an audacious chip and chase try. 

That effort was the start of a four-match run in which Sezer would be awarded nine out of a possible 12 Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel points.

What became clear as 2020 went on was that whenever Giants played well, Sezer was nearly always at the heart of it. 

His ability to find the perfect pass is second to none and is exemplified by his 18 assists this year.

The Turkish international's kicking game has also stood out - both from hand and off the tee. 

Fellow Man of Steel nominee, Paul McShane, likens Sezer's contributions to that of Luke Gale's for Castleford Tigers in 2017.

"Sezer is vital to Huddersfield; he manages the games brilliantly and gives them a balance in attack," he said. 

"You have to put an extra man on him as he's that involved.

"I think back to how well Luke Gale played for us in 2017 - Sezer is in a similar mould to him.

"Galey went onto win it that year and Sezer would be deserving if he did the same."

As good as Sezer has been in 2020, there should be an element of excitement among Giants supporters at how much he could improve.

New head coach Ian Watson has a history getting the best out of Aussie half-backs - just think back to what he did with reigning Man of Steel, Jackson Hastings.

Be in no doubt, with Watson at the helm and Sezer pulling the strings, Giants are play-off contenders in 2021.

But first, it's all about Monday night. If Sezer is named Man of Steel, it would cap off a quite brilliant maiden season in Super League.

By Oli Lathrope