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SBW voted league’s best

  • 28 Nov 2013
Sonny Bill Williams in action for the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup Sonny Bill Williams in action for the Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup

Sonny Bill Williams has received rugby league's International Player of the Year award.

The former All Black, who will return to rugby union in 2015, played a key role in the Sydney Roosters' title-winning campaign in this year's National Rugby League and is part of the New Zealand team that is looking to retain the World Cup by beating Australia in Saturday's final at Manchester.

Only Australian players have won the accolade since its inception in 2008.

Williams was in tears after his New Zealand team-mates paid tribute to him by performing an impromptu haka.

'I wasn't really teary until I saw the boys do the haka, that means the world to me,' he said. 'All I want is respect. After the way I left the game I lost a lot of respect but this year I just tried to carry myself and get across the real me.

'The biggest thing for me is earning the respect of my fellow players and coaches. I think that is why I was a little bit emotional. You don't get a haka done to you from the brothers for no reason if they don't respect you.'

Photo: Paul Thomas/Getty Images

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