Rabbitohs 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)