UPDATED: Sonny Bill Williams might not be the best second-rower in Australia according to Dally M judges, but he is the best player in the world.
Yeah, go figure.
Sonny beat out Greg Inglis of the Bunnies and Danny Brough of the Huddersfield Giants to win the RLIF International Player of the Year award at the event being held in Manchester today.
Ess Bee Dub also took out the second rower of the year award, eclipsing teammate Boyd Cordner, the Dally M Recipient this year.
But how did he win this award when he didn’t get a single Dally M in Australia? Could the Dally M judges have been wrong? Can a rhetorical question also be drenched in sarcasm?
The award caps off a brilliant year for the second rower in his return to the game after five years out.
He won a premiership ring with the 26-18 win over Manly, the Jack Gibson Medal as the Roosters player of the year, and also took away the inaugural 26 Rounder as Roosters player of the year — which was held at an imaginary gala event in Sydney.
He has his haters but the stats are undeniably brilliant (see below). But more importantly, his influence and professionalism changed the way the Roosters trained and approached every game. He even got Mitchell Pearce off the Playboy Bunnies and into green tea — a trade this writer wouldn’t make in a million years.
This award — considering he beat out Greg Inglis — is sure to garner some hatred. But the haters can talk when their player wins their club a Grand Final.
Meanwhile, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Trent Robinson solidified their status as the best at their respective positions, backing up their Dally M winger of the year and coach of the year awards with the world equivalents at the awards.
Boyd Cordner missed out on the Rookie award (somehow he was eligible despite debuting in 2011) to George Burgess, while Michael Jennings, James Maloney and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves did not take out best in the world awards for their respective spots — with Jamie Lyon, Brough and Sam Burgess taking those gongs.
Sonny Bill Williams in Numbers
2013 Totals: Eight tries, seven try assists, 12 line break assists, 12 line breaks, 518 tackles, 25 missed tackles, 27 one-on-one tackles, 56 tackle busts, 54 offloads, 19 errors, 15 penalties conceded, 2,250 metres gained, 251 runs
2013 Averages per game: 0.4 tries, 0.33 try assists, 0.57 line break assists, 0.57 line breaks, 24.6 tackles, 1.2 missed tackles per game, 1.3 one-on-one tackles, 2.7 tackle busts, 2.57 offloads, 0.9 errors, 0.71 penalties conceded, 107.1 metres per game, 11.95 runs per game at 8.99 metres per run.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to the award as the Golden Boot — which is a totally different award handed out in December. Apologies for that.