Former BARLA chief executive Maurice Oldroyd has been presented with the Rugby League International Federation Spirit of Rugby League Award.
The 77-year-old Elland-based RL administrator, who began his playing career at Underbank Rangers, received the prestigious honour in recognition of his commitment to international development over more than four decades.
He collected his award at the RLIF’s gala dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where he was joined by many of the stars of Rugby League World Cup 2013, with Giants captain Danny Brough named the International Stand-off of the Year.
The top honour of the night went to New Zealand’s Sonny Bill Williams, who pipped Brough and Australia’s Greg Inglis to be named the Rugby League International Federation Player of the Year for 2013.
The award crowns a remarkable first season back in Rugby League for Williams, who returned to the sport after a five-year absence in rugby union and professional boxing.
Williams was a key figure in the Sydney Roosters team that won the club’s first NRL Grand Final for over 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 Old Trafford final (2.30).
The 28-year-old is the first Kiwi to win the International Player of the Year 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 Team of the Year also features England and South Sydney front rower Sam Burgess, the 2013 Prop of the Year who is joined by a third Rabbitoh in Issac Luke, the Hooker of the Year and the Burgess family had double cause for celebration with George Burgess being named International Rookie of the Year, an award open to players aged 21 or under who made their Test debut during the voting period.
Sydney Roosters have a second representative in the Team of the Year with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck joining his fellow countryman Sonny Bill Williams as Winger of the Year.
The NRL champions also received further recognition of their momentous year with Trent Robinson being named International Coach of the Yearfollowing his hugely successful debut season at the club since joining them from Catalan Dragons.
Robinson won the award ahead of a current Super League coach, Shaun Wane of Wigan, and another former Super League coach, Wane’s predecessor, Michael Maguire, the coach of South Sydney.
Australian official Ben Cummins was named International Referee of the Year for a second year.
The awards were determined by an international judging panel comprising journalists, broadcasters and former international players drawn from both the northern and southern hemispheres.