Dewsbury-born rugby league star Sam Burgess has scooped the game’s top accolade after he was named International Player of the Year.
The 25-year-old, who began his career as a junior at Dewsbury Moor, becomes the first Englishman in history to receive the award.
It caps a whirlwind 12 months for the Dewsbury lad, who is set to switch codes and join Rugby Union side Bath.
Burgess was part of the England squad who reached the Rugby League World Cup semi-final last Autumn and earlier this month he helped South Sydney Rabbitohs win their first NRL title in 43-years.
Burgess played the entire Grand Final against Canterbury Bulldogs with a fractured cheekbone but produced an inspired display to help the Rabbitohs secure a historic 30-6 victory.
Burgess’s performance saw him become the first non-Australian to win the coveted Clive Churchill Medal but the international player of the year is regarded as the highest individual honour a player can achieve.
Rugby League International Federation chairman Nigel Wood said: “Sam was wonderful for England in the World Cup last year and his performances for South Sydney through the NRL season were first-class, all the way to his Clive Churchill Medal effort in the grand final against Canterbury”
“He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition.”
Burgess beat off competition from James Graham, Johnathan Thurston, Jarryd Hayne and Castleford Tigers Super League man of steel winner Daryl Clarke to receive the award and joins an elite list of players to have scooped the prestigious prize.