They are the only awards that really matter. They don’t conform to a points system. They don’t just focus on one part of the season.
The King Of Rugby League kick in from the very first trail game of the season and judging ends only after the last major game has been played.
Players and teams from every competition in the world are eligible. There are no borders, there is no favoritism. Career achievements mean nothing, it is all based on what a player or team has done in the last year of football.
These are the no bullshit awards. You won’t see Andy Farrell winning here. You won’t see Ben Galea nominated. There is no pretending that Stuart Fielden is an elite player or that 50 game NRL veteran Ben Matulino is still a rookie.
These are the King Of Rugby League Awards….and the winners for 2010 are:
Biggest Story: The Melbourne Storm Lose Previous Titles After Salary Cap Rorts Are Revealed
It was funny, earlier this year things were a bit quiet and I started saying, we need some drama in the game. We needed an atrocity.
Melbourne Storm, come on down!
There had been a lot of rumours about the Storm, to the point where bookies kept suspending their markets and everyone got all hot and bothered. I wrote it all off, at first, but as details started to come through on that fateful day, I knew this was one of the biggest stories in the games history.
Having two NRL Premiership stripped has never happened before.
Rookie Of The Year: Matt Gillett
What made him stand out from other rookies in 2010 was the fact that he was so reliable for the Brisbane Broncos.
He played 22 games this year, which is really being thrown into the deep end. He was consistent and performed like a seasoned veteran at times. When you can find that quality in a young player, it is gold.
Team Of The Year: Wigan Warriors
This was one of the more difficult calls to make.
The St George/Illawarra Dragons had a great year, but we expected them to. Also, I felt with the Storm not being involved (The Storm OWN the Dragons) and no other teams really stepping up, its hard to say the Dragons won in a great season. Hell, even a poorly coached Panthers side were in the minor premiership hunt for most of the year!
Queenslands clean sweep at Origin level was fantastic, but it was against a shambolic New South Wales side, while the Kiwi’s won only one decent game of football in 2010. Granted, it was the most important one, but still…
Wigan turned the direction of the club around in one off season, were clear cut the best team in Super League all year and never missed a beat as they went on to win the Super League title.
Representative Player Of The Year: Billy Slater
This one might be a bit controversial, however you would be hard pressed to find a rep player that was as consistently good as Billy Slater was this year.
Slater was the two time defending King Of Rugby League going into season 2010 and had he won, he would have been only the second player to win the award on three occasions and the first to take a hat-trick!
When the Storm had their season killed, Slater still played fairly well, but as the regular season came to an end he switched off, as all Storm players did.
He was outstanding for Queensland and Australia this year and he is a player you know the opposition plans for.
The King Of Rugby League Award: Benji Marshall
The best year of his career by a long way. Marshall had a pretty consistent season for the West Tigers. He is the sun that team revolves around, take him out of their team in 2010 and I don’t think they even get anywhere near the finals!
Sam Thaiday I thought had this wrapped up at the mid point of the season. He was playing outstanding football for the Broncos and he kept that up during Origin. he tailed off a bit at the end of the season, but the killer blow for him was a poor Four Nations campaign. If he’d just had a couple of decent games, he would have won the award.
Marshall though added consistency with brilliance, and during the Four Nations final, when he got the ball, Australia panicked, and rightfully so.
I’ve said for a few years now that Marshall is the most skillful player in the world by some way, and the only reason I’ve held back on the title as the best in the world is because he needed to add that consistency to his game.