Australian and Sydney Roosters star Todd Carney tonight completed a stunning transformation from park football to the world’s best player in the space of 12 months after being named the RLIF International Player of the Year at Auckland’s Eden Park. <br><br> The playmaker who spent the 2009 season rebuilding his life and his career playing district football for the North Queensland town of Atherton was honoured for a memorable NRL season in which he won the Dally M Medal as player of the year and helped lift the Sydney Roosters from the wooden-spoon to the NRL Grand Final. <br><br> Carney, who was also named International Five-Eighth of the Year, becomes the third Australian in the three-year history of the awards to win the top honour, following Billy Slater in 2008 and Jarryd Hayne in 2009. <br><br> Sam Tomkins, one of the stars of Wigan’s Super League triumph, was named Rookie of the Year while St George Illawarra’s Wayne Bennett was named International Coach of the Year after securing his seventh NRL Premiership and the Dragons’ first as a joint venture club. <br><br> <b>Tonight’s RLIF Award winners are: <br><br> - Player of the Year: Todd Carney (Sydney Roosters) <br>- Coach of the Year: Wayne Bennett (St George Illawarra Dragons) <br>- Rookie of the Year: Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors) <br>- Fullback of the Year: Darius Boyd (St George Illawarra Dragons) <br>- Winger of the Year: Pat Richards (Wigan Warriors) <br>- Centre of the Year: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters) <br>- Five-eighth of the Year: Todd Carney (Sydney Roosters) <br>- Halfback of the Year: Scott Prince (Gold Coast Titans) <br>- Prop of the Year: Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves) <br>- Hooker of the Year: Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers) <br>- Second-rower of the Year: Gareth Ellis (Wests Tigers) <br>- Lock of the Year: Luke Lewis (Penrith Panthers) <br>- Referee of the Year: Joint award – Tony Archer (Australia) and Richard Silverwood (England) <br>- Spirit of Rugby League Award: Ron McGregor.</b> <br><br> With all the Four Nations squads in attendance tonight, Carney received the award from Australian Team of the Century five-eighth Wally Lewis, who captained Australia to victory in the 1988 World Cup Final – the last Rugby League international played at historic Eden Park, the venue for Saturday night’s Four Nations double-header. <br><br> Carney was one of four VB Kangaroos players to win awards tonight with NRL Clive Churchill Medal winner Darius Boyd named International Fullback of the Year, Luke Lewis International Lock of the Year and Robbie Farah International Hooker of the Year. <br><br> Ron McGregor, a New Zealand international who as an administrator became a pioneer for the professional game, was posthumously honoured for his lifetime of service to Rugby League with the Spirit of Rugby League Award. <br><br> Australia’s Tony Archer and England’s Richard Silverwood shared the International Referee of the Year Award. <br><br> The RLIF Awards were constituted in 2008 as part of the Rugby League World Cup celebrations and are International Rugby League’s official awards. <br><br> The winners of this year’s RLIF International Player of the Year awards are judged by a select international panel based on performances from (and including) October 13, 2009 to October 3, 2010. <br><br> The selection committee comprises former players, journalists and commentators including: Northern Hemisphere: Ian Laybourn (Press Association), David Hadfield (The Independent), Dave Woods (BBC), Eddie Hemmings (Sky TV), Raymond Fletcher (Rugby League statistician), Ian Golden (Wales Rugby League), Andy Wilson (Guardian), Martin Richards (Daily Express), Paul Bennett (League Weekly), Robbie Paul (ex-International); Southern Hemisphere: Malcolm Reilly (ex-International), Roy Masters (Sydney Morning Herald), David Middleton (League Information Services & Channel 9), Greg Alexander (2UE & Fox Sports), Paul Kent (The Daily Telegraph), Steve Ricketts (Courier Mail), Glenn Jackson (Sydney Morning Herald), Steve Crawley (Channel 9), Steve McIvor (Sky NZ), Steve Kilgallon (Sunday Star NZ).
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