Clive Churchill Medal winner Sam Burgess has become the first English winner of the RLIF International Player of the Year Award at a function in Brisbane.
Burgess held off a group of nominees which included fellow English international James Graham, Dally M Medal winners Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne, as well as Man of Steel winner Daryl Clark, to win the prestigious award at the Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane.
“Sam was wonderful for England in the World Cup last year and his performances for South Sydney through the NRL season were first-class, all the way to his Clive Churchill Medal effort in the grand final against Canterbury-Bankstown,” RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said.
“He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition.”
A voting panel comprising 10 judges – five from the northern hemisphere and five from the southern hemisphere – was asked to assign votes to three players from a group of 10 nominees (five from Super League, five from the NRL), in 3-2-1 fashion.
The RLIF also handed the Spirit of Rugby League Award to Peter Corcoran, primarily for his work in introducing the modified games program to rugby league. Previous recipients of the Spirit of Rugby League Award, recognising an individual’s exceptional contribution to the sport, are Maurice Oldroyd (England), David Oxley CBE (England), Ron McGregor (New Zealand), Ken Arthurson (Australia) and Paul Barriere (France).
RLIF INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD HONOUR ROLL
2008: Billy Slater (Australia)
2009: Jarryd Hayne (Australia)
2010: Todd Carney (Australia)
2011: Billy Slater (Australia)
2012: Cameron Smith (Australia)
2013: Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)
2014: Sam Burgess (England)
NATIONS PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Cook Islands: Dominique Peyroux
Fiji: Semi Radradra
France: Rémi Casty
Ireland: Liam Finn
Jamaica: Nathan Campbell
Lebanon: Chris Saab
PNG: Israel Eliab
Russia: Kirill Kosharin
Samoa: David Fa’alogo
Scotland: Matty Russell
Serbia: Stefan Nedeljkovic
South Africa: Ruaan du Preez
Tonga: Jason Taumalolo
Ukraine: Oleksandr Skorbach
Wales: Rhys Evans
USA: Joseph Paulo
Canada: Steve Piatek
RLIF SPIRIT OF RUGBY LEAGUE AWARD