Smith crowned International Player of the Year

Melbourne and Australia captain Cameron Smith has been named the 2012 RLIF International Player of the Year.

Smith, 29, led Storm to the NRL title this season, and is one of eight Australians to be named in the International Team of the Year.

The award caps another amazing season for Smith, who this year was named as the Kangaroos’ new captain, led Queensland to a record-breaking seventh consecutive State of Origin Series triumph, was named Dally M Hooker of the Year, led the Kangaroos to two Test victories over New Zealand and led Storm to success.

It is the first time Smith has won the award, which was first presented in 2008 to his Melbourne  team-mate Billy Slater. Other previous winners are Jarryd Hayne (2009), Todd Carney (2010) and Slater again (2011).

Leeds winger Ryan Hall and Canterbury’s James Graham are the only English representatives in the team selection, which comprises nine players – one from each position.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy took home the Coach of the Year award, while International Rookie of the Year went to Kiwi Shaun Johnson.

RLIF Chairman Scott Carter said: “As we look forward to the Rugby League World Cup in the northern hemisphere in 2013, you can’t help but be excited at the talent that will be on display.

“The strength of the Australian side at the moment has certainly been reflected in the International Team of the Year and while the Kangaroos will start the World Cup as warm favourites the competition that exists in international Rugby League will ensure the tournament will be as fascinating as it was in 2008 when New Zealand were crowned the World champions.”

The RLIF International Player of the Year award winners are:

International Player of the Year – Cameron Smith (Aus)
International Coach of the Year – Craig Bellamy (Aus)
International Rookie of the Year – Shaun Johnson (NZ)


Full-back: Ben Barba (Aus)
Winger: Ryan Hall (Eng)
Centre: Jamie Lyon (Aus)
Stand-off: Johnathan Thurston (Aus)
Scrum-half: Cooper Cronk (Aus)
Loose forward: Paul Gallen (Aus)
Second row: Nate Myles (Aus)
Prop: James Graham (Eng)
Hooker: Cameron Smith (Aus)

Competing Nations’ Players of the Year:

Canada: Tony Felix
Cook Islands: Tinirau Arona
Czech Republic: David Lahr
Fiji: Sisa Waqa
France: Vincent Duport
Germany: Mawuli Amefia
Ireland: Liam Finn
Italy: Fabrizio Ciaurro
Jamaica: Fabion Turner
Japan: Noriyuki Tainaka
Malta: Clifford Debattista
Morocco: Souhail Ait Alla
Lebanon: Danny Barakat
Papua New Guinea: Dion Aye
Russia: Sergey Konstantinov
Samoa: Tony Puletua
Scotland: John Duffy
Serbia: Stefan Nedeljkovic
South Africa: Stevie Meyer
Sweden: Tobias Rorstam
Tonga: Brent Kite
USA: Michael Garvey
Wales: Rhodri Lloyd

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