Super League Dream Team 2014: BBC Sport's experts' choices

Super League's Dream Team for 2014
Only three players from the 2013 Dream Team have made the side this year

After 27 rounds, 189 games and 1,696 tries of another thrilling Super League regular season campaign, 13 players - the best of the best for each position - have been selected for the 2014 Dream Team.

It is a subjective process, with the performances of individuals judged in tandem with club performances, and often throws up a few surprise selections.

St Helens finished top of the regular season table going into the play-offs but had only one player - Tommy Makinson - while Challenge Cup winners Leeds have five players named.

With the votes cast and the results confirmed, BBC Sport's rugby league experts have submitted their teams based on their experiences covering the competition during the 2014 season.

The official Super League Dream Team 2014:

Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Ryan Hall (Leeds), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Tommy Makinson (St Helens); Kevin Brown (Widnes), Matty Smith (Wigan); Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Chris Hill (Warrington), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans), Carl Ablett (Leeds), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan).

Dave Woods - BBC Radio 5 Live

Daryl Clark
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Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Ryan Hall (Leeds), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joel Monaghan (Warrington), Josh Charnley (Wigan); Kevin Brown (Widnes), Danny McGuire (Leeds); Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Andy Lynch (Castleford), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan)

"Zak Hardaker is a fantastic all-round full-back. Josh Charnley has come back from injury and being out of favour with a vengeance while Ryan Hall played a big part in Leeds success.

"Michael Shenton is a class act, while Joel Monaghan has switched from wing to centre and been outstanding. Kevin Brown has had arguably the best season of his career and Danny McGuire has been sparkling.

"The two props are warriors, with the quick-witted Daryl Clark at hooker, and in the back row Elliott Whitehead has been revelation and Liam Farrell and Sean O'Loughlin are both vital cogs in Wigan's wheel."

George Riley - BBC Radio 5 Live

Jamie Peacock
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Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield), Joel Monaghan (Warrington); Kevin Brown (Widnes), Marc Sneyd (Castleford); Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Chris Hill (Warrington), Carl Ablett (Leeds), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan)

"There are three outstanding choices at full-back. I've gone for Zak Hardaker, ahead of Morgan Escare or Luke Dorn as I've been more impressed with him defensively. Tommy Makinson has been a revelation at St Helens and now strongly rivals Ryan Hall for the best finisher in Super League.

"The leadership of Michael Shenton has been a big part of Castleford's success, and Joe Wardle at Huddersfield has been one of the unsung stars of the season.

"Kevin Brown has found some of his best ever form to guide Widnes into the play-offs, and at scrum-half I've gone for Marc Sneyd over Matty Smith, Danny Brough or Luke Walsh. Sneyd's kicking and broken-play running have been a major catalyst.

"His Castleford team-mate Craig Huby has had the season of his career but for me just loses out to Chris Hill and Jamie Peacock up front. Hill has again proven he's one of the best props in the game, while Peacock is my choice as Man of Steel.

"Daryl Clark has been, hands down, the best hooker. Like Wardle, Carl Ablett continues to impress below the radar, Elliott Whitehead has been sensational in France, and Sean O'Loughlin continues to lead Wigan by example."

James Deighton - BBC Radio Leeds

Tim Smith
Tim Smith: Had a "massive effect" back at Wakefield, says BBC Radio Leeds' James Deighton

Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Ryan Hall (Leeds), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield); Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Tim Smith (Wakefield); Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Andy Lynch (Castleford), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield), Weller Hauraki (Castleford), James Donaldson (Bradford)

"I make no excuse for the West Yorkshire bias. Zak Hardaker has overcome off-field problems to become one of the biggest attacking threats - described by team-mate Jamie Jones-Buchanan as a 'holographic snake'. Ryan Hall has pace and power while Jermaine McGillvary had a season to remember.

"Michael Shenton led by example and Kallum Watkins is one of the game's biggest threats. In the halves, Kevin Sinfield is Mr Consistency, while Tim Smith had a massive effect back at Wakefield.

"Jamie Peacock and Andy Lynch have been been equally heroic and influential, while if Daryl Clark had not been in the Dream Team there would have been no justice in this world. Brett Ferres's silky handling skills have created so many chances, and Weller Hauraki has had arguably his best season. James Donaldson has been outstanding despite the Bulls' problems."

Phil Kinsella - BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Manchester

Chris Bridge
Chris Bridge: Switch to halves a "game changer" for Warrington, says the BBC's Phil Kinsella

Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joel Moon (Leeds), Ryan Hall (Leeds); Chris Bridge (Warrington), Luke Walsh (St Helens); Chris Hill (Warrington), Josh Hodgson (Hull KR), Kyle Amor (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan)

"If you want a young player of the year - Joe Burgess of Wigan, who is a great finisher and mature beyond his years.

"The surprise is probably Chris Bridge ahead of Kevin Brown, but Bridge's move to half-back was the game-changer for Wolves. After the defeat at Bradford in May, the written press wrote them off and claimed Warrington could not cope without Lee Briers. It was a brave call by Tony Smith to switch Chris but it was fully justified by 10 straight wins and reaching the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.

"Chris Hill's form in 2014 makes him Man of Steel for me while Josh Hodgson was Mr Consistent and, in a team that finished outside the top eight, he kept his form and led the team brilliantly - he could be a sensation at Canberra.

"Luke Walsh's form for Saints got them where they are - his organisational skills were what they had lacked for years - he has been a huge loss at the back end of the year."

Richard Stead - BBC Radio Humberside

Joe Wardle
Joe Wardle: Link up with Brett Ferres has impressed BBC Radio Humberside's Richard Stead

Zak Hardaker (Leeds); Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield), Joel Monaghan (Warrington); Kevin Brown (Widnes), Marc Sneyd (Castleford); Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Andy Lynch (Castleford), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield), Sia Soliola (St Helens), Joe Westerman (Hull FC)

"Often the players who don't make the cut raise the most eyebrows. Castleford prop Craig Huby was probably the hardest player to leave out of my squad, but Jamie Peacock has had a 'Man of Steel' year and Huby's Tigers team-mate Andy Lynch has also, in my opinion, been one of the stand-out players in the competition.

"I've not got any Wigan players in my 13, which I guess is surprising as the Warriors, as a squad, top a lot of the stats tables. I feel the whole is greater then the sum of its parts for Wigan.

"I've included Joe Wardle and Brett Ferres as I believe the Huddersfield duo combine to give the Giants one of the best strike edges in Super League.

"Kevin Brown's form at Widnes has surely put him in the end-of-season England reckoning and both Tommy Makinson and Joel Monaghan fit the criteria you want most from a winger - they know where the goal line is.

"Joe Westerman is my only selection from a team outside the top eight. I think the Hull loose forward has had a good year in a team which has ultimately underperformed."

Matt Newsum - BBC Sport

Luke Walsh
Luke Walsh has been a big loss to St Helens following his broken leg, says Matt Newsum

Morgan Escare (Catalans); Joel Monaghan (Warrington), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Joel Moon (Leeds), Tommy Makinson (St Helens); Kevin Brown (Widnes), Luke Walsh (St Helens); Craig Huby (Castleford), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Chris Hill (Warrington), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans), Carl Ablett (Leeds), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan)

"I'd like to think my team would give anyone a run for their money. There's pace, skill and graft throughout. In the backs, Morgan Escare is a little man with big skills, while the three-quarter line has spectacular finishers in Joel Monaghan and Tommy Makinson with two lively centres in Michael Shenton and Joel Moon.

"Kevin Brown and Luke Walsh have excellent kicking games and have been influential, and playing behind this pack would give them plenty of platforms.

"Up front, Craig Huby and Chris Hill have subtlety to go with their power with Daryl Clark buzzing menacingly at the ruck, while the back-row is the same, as Elliott Whitehead, Carl Ablett and Sean O'Loughlin all have ball skills and know their way to the try line."

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