Sonny Bill takes top honours in
NZRL awards

The New Zealand Rugby League awards were given out on Friday night with Sonny Bill Williams named player of the year after an explosive opening season in the NRL.

He edged out the Cowboys' Paul Rauhihi and Warriors new man Ruben Wiki.

Louis Anderson was named rookie of the year, while Stephen Kearney received an award for his contribution to the game over 12 seasons at the top level.

Mt Albert Lions coach Brian McLennan won the award for Bartercard Cup coach of the year.

McLennan sees it as boost for his chances of becoming Kiwis coach when Daniel Anderson's tenure ends.

Top NZRL referee Glen Black was also acknowledged for his year in 2004.