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When you run through Cameron Smith’s list of the achievements over the past year it’s no surprise he was awarded the Rugby League International Federation International Player of the Year gong today.

Smith was the skipper of the premiership-winning Melbourne Storm team who beat the Bulldogs in the grand final last month and took over the Australian captaincy after Darren Lockyer retired, presiding over two wins against New Zealand this year.

The 29-year-old also led the Queensland Maroons to a record seventh consecutive State of Origin win over NSW, was awarded the Dally M hooker of the year award and, to top it off, was voted as his Storm teammate’s player’s player for the 2012 NRL season.

The RLIF awards are voted on by a panel from the northern and southern hemispheres, but were dominated by Australia, with Smith’s Storm coach Craig Bellamy also winning coach of the year.

England winger Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos) and disgraced prop James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs) are the only non-Aussies to win best player in their respective position.

RLIF chairman Scott Carter praised the strength of the Kangaroos, who will have a bright red target on their backs at the upcoming World Cup in the UK.

“The strength of the Australian side at the moment has certainly been reflected in the International Team of the Year and while the Kangaroos will start the World Cup as warm favourites the competition that exists in international Rugby League will ensure the tournament will be as fascinating as it was in 2008 when New Zealand were crowned the world champions,’ he said.

If anyone cared, Australia’s Ben Cummins won the International Referee of the Year award.

INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF THE YEAR 

Fullback: Ben Barba (Australia, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) 
Winger: Ryan Hall (England, Leeds Rhinos)
Centre: Jamie Lyon (Australia, Manly Sea Eagles) 
Five-Eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Australia, North Queensland Cowboys) 
Halfback: Cooper Cronk (Australia, Melbourne Storm) 
Lock: Paul Gallen (Australia, Cronulla Sharks) 
Second Row: Nate Myles (Australia, Gold Coast Titans) 
Prop: James Graham (England, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) 
Hooker: Cameron Smith (Australia, Melbourne Storm)

Images via Getty


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Australia, Queensland and Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith named international rugby league player of the year
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