Sam Burgess has been crowned RLIF international player of the year.
Burgess has capped of a tremendous 12 months by becoming the first Englishman to win the international rugby league player of the year.
The 25-year-old won the NRL grand final with South Sydney Rabbitohs in his final match while playing with a fractured cheekbone, before departing to kick start his rugby union career with English side Bath.
The Clive Churchill medal winner held off a group of strong nominees which included fellow English international James Graham and Dally M joint winners Jonathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne.
Chairman of RLIF Nigel Wood described Burgess’s efforts throughout the year as phenomenal and was a worthy winner.
“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,” he said.
A voting panel of 10 judges – five from the northern hemisphere and five from the southern were asked to pick this year’s winner. – David Telefoni
Top photo from Eva Rinaldi’s Flickr photostream.