George Smith Super 14 player of series - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

George Smith Super 14 player of series

31/05/2006 08:09:46 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies back-rower George Smith has been crowned an emphatic winner of Australia's Super 14 player of the series award.

Brumbies flanker Smith streeted the field to poll 35 votes for the award, seven ahead of a quartet of players tied for second place.

Reds flanker David Croft and Waratahs wing-fullback Peter Hewat gained some consolation for missing Wallabies selection by polling 28, along with Brumbies skipper Stirling Mortlock and Western Force three-quarter Scott Staniforth.

Smith's victory is the first time he's won the annual award, which was voted by the rugby media and players under a new system.

In previous years the voting was made by referees who awarded 3-2-1 points to the best three Australian players in each match.

Under the new system, starring performances by South African and New Zealand rivals were taken into account after Chris Latham scooped the last three awards in a struggling Queensland team.

Smith's prize comes a day after he won the Brumbies' Brett Robinson players' player award for the fourth straight year and follows his John Eales Medal as the Wallabies best player in 2002.

Australian skipper George Gregan (22) finished equal eighth with halfback rival Sam Cordingley who took an early lead before his season ended with an injured foot in round eight.

Waratahs loose-head prop Benn Robinson's selection in the 33-man Wallabies squad was sweetened by his rookie of the series award, tipping out Queensland playmaker Berrick Barnes by a point.

NSW coach Ewen McKenzie was named coach of the year for the second year in a row while his side won the try of the series for utility back Sam Norton-Knight's controversial five-pointer in the 37-14 win over the Brumbies.

Despite doubts over the grounding, the judges couldn't go past the lead-up work of the Waratahs and the toe-through and chase by Norton-Knight, a split-second before the ball was shepherded into touch by Mortlock.

Completing the NSW sweep of the minor awards, Lote Tuqiri won the Tooheys New Medal, voted by rugby supporters.

Super 14 player of series: George Smith (Brumbies) 35, Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies), David Croft (Reds), Peter Hewat (NSW), Scott Staniforth (Force) 28, Nathan Sharpe (Force) 27, Mark Gerrard (Brumbies) 26, Sam Cordingley (Reds), George Gregan (Brumbies), Cameron Shepherd (22).

Rookie of the series: Benn Robinson (NSW)

Coach of the series: Ewen McKenzie (NSW)

Try of the series: Sam Norton-Knight (NSW)

Peoples choice award: Lote Tuqiri (NSW)

Referee of the series: Scott Young

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