Sonny Bill pips Inglis and Brough to RLIF Player award

DUAL international Sonny Bill Williams has capped his spectacular return to rugby league by being named the worlds best player.


The New Zealand superstar was crowned Rugby League International Federation player of the year in Manchester on Wednesday night (this morning Australian time), beating out fellow nominees Kangaroos and Maroons star Greg Inglis and Scotland playmaker Danny Brough.


Williams helped the Sydney Roosters to the NRL premiership after returning to the code following five years in rugby union, during which he played 19 Tests for the All Blacks.


The 28-year-old has also been in devastating form at the World Cup and will hope to follow up the award with victory in Saturdays final against Australia at Old Trafford.


In taking out the gong, Williams broke an Australian stranglehold on the honour with Billy Slater (2008, 2011), Jarryd Hayne (2009), Todd Carney (2010) and Cameron Smith (2012) previous winners since it was established six years ago.


Williams was one three Kiwis named in the team of the year at Wednesday night's awards ceremony at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, along with winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and hooker Issac Luke.


Inglis was named at fullback in the side, while fellow Queenslander and Manlys Clive Churchill medallist Daly Cherry-Evans was named halfback of the year. Queenslands third representative in the team was Brisbane veteran Corey Parker, while Sea Eagles centre Jamie Lyon was the only other Australians in the side.


South Sydney and England front rower George Burgess beat out Sydney Roosters backrower Boyd Cordner to be named rookie of the year while older brother Sam was best prop.


Super League player of the year Brough was the five-eighth of the year.


Trent Robinson was awarded coach of the year after guiding the Roosters to the title in his first season in charge.


The winners of the 2013 RLIF International Player of the Year awards are:


International Player of the Year: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)


International Coach of the Year: Trent Robinson (Sydney Roosters and Australia)


International Rookie of the Year: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs and England)


International Referee of the Year: Ben Cummins (Australia)


Spirit of Rugby League Award: Maurice Oldroyd


INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR


Full-back: Greg Inglis (South Sydney and Australia)

Winger: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)

Centre: Jamie Lyon (Manly)

Stand-off: Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants and Scotland)

Scrum-half: Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly and Australia)

Prop: Sam Burgess (South Sydney and England)

Hooker: Issac Luke (South Sydney and New Zealand)

Second row: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)

Loose forward: Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos and Australia)