Slater, Storm dominate RLIF awards - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slater, Storm dominate RLIF awards

By Wayne Heming 17/11/2008 10:54:25 PM Comments (0)

Exhilarating fullback Billy Slater is the Rugby League International Federation's inaugural player of the year with his Melbourne Storm club dominating the Team of the Year named on Monday night.

Manly's premiership-winning Des Hasler was named Coach of the Year at the RLIF's inaugural awards night at Suncorp Stadium, the venue for the World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand on Saturday.

Slater burst from representative exile in a stunning NRL season with Melbourne.

His scintillating early season form won the battle for the Australian No.1 jumper in the Centenary Test against New Zealand in May and he played all three State of Origin games in Queensland's series win over NSW.

Melbourne provided four of the 10 players in the award team with Israel Folau chosen as centre, Greg Inglis five-eighth and Cameron Smith hooker.

The Gold Coast Titans were celebrating with two players selected; Scott Prince at halfback and secondrower Anthony Laffranchi, who lost his father just before he was picked in Australia's World Cup squad.

Prince's early season NRL form, before breaking his arm playing Origin for Queensland, was good enough to just deny current Australian halfback Johnathan Thurston the No.7 jumper.

The Team of the Year, chosen by former players and media representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the UK, comprised seven members of Ricky Stuart's Kangaroos, one Kiwi, and two English players.

It was determined on performances in the NRL and English Super League, including their grand finals between October 2007 and October 2008.

Only one person was to be given the honour of representing each team position but two secondrowers tied in the voting, Laffranchi joined by Leeds backrower Gareth Ellis.

St Helens prop James Graham was the other man to earn selection playing in the English Super League while blockbusting Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei was the New Zealand player to make the list.

It was a big night for Brisbane-bound Folau, also named Rookie of the Year for his sensational debut season in the 2007 NRL premiership.

Folau became the youngest ever Australian Test player when, at 18 years and 194 days, he scored two tries on debut against New Zealand in Wellington.

Team of the Year:

Fullback: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm).

Winger: Manu Vatuvei (Warriors, NZ).

Centre: Israel Folau (Melbourne Storm).

Five-eighth: Greg Inglis (Melbourne Storm).

Halfback: Scott Prince (Gold Coast Titans).

Lock: Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks).

Second Row: Gareth Ellis (Leeds, England) and Anthony Laffranchi (Gold Coast Titans).

Front Row: James Graham (St Helens, England).

Hooker: Cam Smith (Melbourne Storm)

Coach of the Year: Des Hasler (Manly).

Rookie of the Year: Israel Folau (Melbourne Storm).

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