HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ Danny Brough fell short of being named the world’s best player last night but the Scotland captain is now classed as the sport’s greatest stand-off.
Brough, 30, was shortlisted with legends Sonny Bill Williams and Greg Inglis for the 2013 Rugby League International Federation Player of the Year.
He missed out on that award with New Zealand second-row Williams, instead, capping a remarkable first season back in the game by winning its most prestigious individual honour.
But the Dewsbury-born player can take great pride in beating off Australia’s decorated star Johnathan Thurston and New Zealand’s Kieran Foran to be billed as the finest six around.
It comes after his inspiring World Cup, guiding underdogs Scotland to the quarter-finals for the first time, and having won Man of Steel on the back of Huddersfield’s League Leaders’ Shield success.
The awards dinner in Manchester proved a big night for Dewsbury given the West Yorkshire town also saw two of its other sons hailed.
Sam Burgess, the South Sydney and England colossus, was named International Prop of the Year while his younger brother George took the International Rookie of the Year award.
That completed a double for the blockbusting front-row after he took NRL Rookie of the Year following a scintillating season himself with South Sydney.
Burgess, who started out at Bradford Bulls, then went on to debut for England, scoring in the World Cup opener against Australia at Cardiff and being an ever-present in Steve McNamara’s squad. Admittedly, an ill-timed high tackle on Williams led to New Zealand scoring a last-minute try to break their hearts in Saturday’s semi-final.
However, that will not detract from the 21-year-old’s remarkable progress having earned a reputation already as one of the sport’s most destructive forwards.
Sam, meanwhile, has been at another level again and should really have been on that shortlist with Williams, Brough and Inglis.
Williams took the main award, though, just 12 months after returning to league after a five-year absence in rugby union and professional boxing.
He was a key figure in the Sydney Roosters team that won the club’s first NRL Grand Final for more than a decade and has been an integral part of the New Zealand side that is looking to complete a successful defence of the World Cup trophy against Australia in Saturday’s final at Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old is the first Kiwi to win the award, which has been won by Australian players since its inception in 2008 – Billy Slater (2008 and 2011), Jarryd Hayne (2009), Todd Carney (2010) and Cameron Smith (2012).
The International Team of the Year is selected on club and representative displays between October 2012 and November 2013.
Ex-BARLA chief executive Maurice Oldroyd was presented with the Spirit of Rugby League Award in recognition of his commitment to international development over more than four decades.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have signed hooker Paul McShane from Leeds Rhinos for an undisclosed fee on a two-year deal.
Rugby League’s Roll of Honour
Full-back: Greg Inglis (South Sydney and Australia)
Winger: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
Centre: Jamie Lyon (Manly)
Stand-off: Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants and Scotland)
Scrum-half: Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly and Australia)
Prop: Sam Burgess (South Sydney and England)
Hooker: Issac Luke (South Sydney and New Zealand)
Second row: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
Loose forward: Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos and Australia)
International Player of the Year: Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters and New Zealand)
Coach of the Year: Trent Robinson (Sydney Roosters and Australia)
Rookie of the Year: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs and England)
Referee of the Year: Ben Cummins (Australia)
Spirit of Rugby League Award: Maurice Oldroyd