Marshall, Boyd, Carney up for top gong - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Marshall, Boyd, Carney up for top gong

By Joe Barton 02/11/2010 05:50:24 PM Comments (0)

An English trio and Maori maestro Benji Marshall stand in the way of Australia continuing its dominance in the Rugby League International Federation's player of the year award.

Australia is aiming to continue its stranglehold on the award when it's presented in Auckland on Wednesday after Melbourne star Billy Slater won the inaugural prize in 2008 and Parramatta flier Jarryd Hayne claimed it last season.

Wigan whiz-kid Sam Tomkins joins forwards James Graham and Adrian Morley as the English contingent gunning for the respected award, but they'll need to go through four Australians before they can claim it.

Slater, Dally M medal winner Todd Carney, Clive Churchill medallist Darius Boyd and English Super League's Man of Steel Pat Richards round out the elite field.

And just like the final few rounds of the Dally M count, a tight finish with Boyd and Carney featuring heavily is expected, according to Australian Test centre Brent Tate.

"You'd have to think they'll be up there in the voting, they were up there in the NRL so I can't see why they wouldn't figure in this one as well," he told AAP on Tuesday.

Tate said despite England's poor showing in this year's Four Nations, the quality of international performers and the strength of the English Super League ensured it would be a hotly contested award.

"It's the best of the best from all over the place, that's the greatest thing about our game ... that anyone can win those sort of awards," he said.

"A lot of the Kiwi guys have been in great form this year as well."

St George Illawarra's brilliant season could see supercoach Wayne Bennett rewarded with the coach of the year award, where he can again beat vanquished NRL grand finalist Brian Smith (Sydney Roosters).

Other coaches in contention are Tim Sheens (Wests Tigers and Australia), English Super League winning coach Michael Maguire (Wigan) and Queensland's Mal Meninga.

Wigan's star young halfback Sam Tomkins is favourite to take out the rookie of the year award ahead of countrymen Kyle Eastmond (St Helens) and Melbourne's Gareth Widdop, and Kiwis Kieran Foran (Manly) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters).

The full Four Nations squads from New Zealand, England, Australia and Papua New Guinea will attend the official awards night as the countdown continues to Saturday night's double-header at Eden Park.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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