Richards crowned RLWA player of the year

Wigan winger Pat Richards‘ prolific season in Engage Super League XV has been recognised with his selection as the Rugby League Writers’ Association player of the year.

The Ireland international, who equalled the Super League record for points in a season of 388 set by former Wigan captain Andy Farrell in 2001, polled more than half the votes of the journalists.

Warrington prop Adrian Morley was Richards’ nearest rival, with his team-mates Ben Westwood and Lee Briers attracting votes, along with brothers Sam and Joel Tomkins, of Wigan.

“It’s an honour to get this award,” said Richards, 28, who will be presented with his trophy at the association’s annual dinner in Leeds on February 7.

“I’m a bit surprised actually. I’m just happy to do my job out there.

“I’ve got to thank everyone in the team. Being a winger, my team-mates have helped me this year by creating the tries. My job is to finish them off.”

Richards, who was named yesterday in the 2010 Engage Super League Dream Team, became the first player to top all three scoring charts in a Super League regular season, finishing with 29 tries and 136 goals.

Richards is in his fifth season with the Warriors after spells in Australia‘s National Rugby League with Parramatta and Wests Tigers, for whom he scored the match-winning try in the 2005 Grand Final.

“I’d probably say I’m playing as good as I ever have,” he said. “I’m really enjoying my footie.

“Wigan’s a great place to be. We’ve got a really good team, everyone works hard for each other and I get the benefits of that out wide.”

Richards is now hoping he and his Wigan team-mates can take their winning form into the play-offs, starting with Sunday’s qualifying tie against defending champions Leeds at the DW Stadium.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work to get where we’ve got to,” he said. “Finishing first gives us a good opportunity in the play-offs but it’s always about what you do in the last four weeks of the season.

“That’s all we’re working hard on and hopefully we can finish the year off strong.”

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