In their first full season of English football, former Canberra five-eighth Austin (Warrington), ex-Penrith and North Queensland fullback Coote (St Helens) and former Sydney and Manly halfback Hastings (Salford) have been nominated for the award. Joining them on the shortlist is Castleford’s Liam Watts and Wigan’s George Williams.
Before voting went behind closed doors in round 22, Austin and Hastings were tied for the lead, but Austin has only seen the field twice since then.
Three-time Man of Steel winner and selection panel chairman Ellery Hanley has been impressed with the efforts of all five men throughout the 2019 season.
“The panellists have been lucky to have witnessed first-hand some exceptional performances this season,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“The five guys in contention have been pivotal to their team’s success and for that they deserve recognition for outstanding seasons but only one person can win.”
This year’s Man of Steel will be announced at an awards night at the Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays, on October 6.