Sonny Bill Williams wins player of the year award

New Zealand and Sydney Roosters forward Sonny Bill Williams has been named the Rugby League International Federation player of the year.

The award caps an incredible return to the sport for the 28-year-old, who resumed his rugby league career at the turn of the year after five years spent playing rugby union and boxing.

Williams beat Australia's Greg Inglis and Scotland and Huddersfield's Danny Brough, the Super League Man of Steel, to the top award at the RLIF's gala dinner at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.

He played a huge role as the Roosters won their first NRL Grand Final for a decade and has also helped New Zealand to reach Saturday's World Cup final against Australia.

The award began in 2008 and Williams becomes the first Kiwi to win it, Australians having taken the honours for the first five years.