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Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Monday, 27 September 2010 23:32 UK

Wigan's Pat Richards named 2010 Man of Steel

Pat Richards in action for Wigan Warriors
Richards has played a key role in Wigan's resurgence this season

Wigan Warriors' prolific Australian goal-kicking winger Pat Richards has been named as the 2010 Super League Man of Steel.

League leaders and grand finalists Wigan completed a clean sweep of the major awards at Monday's gala dinner.

Michael Maguire won the coach of the year award in his first season, and stand-off Sam Tomkins retained his young player of the year title.

The resurgent Warriors were also named club of the year.

Richards was adjudged to have made the biggest impact on the season, beating Tomkins and Warrington captain Adrian Morley, who was short-listed for the second successive season, in a poll of his fellow players.

He succeeds fellow countryman Brett Hodgson, the Huddersfield full-back, and is the fifth Australian to be crowned Man of Steel since the award was introduced in 1977.

606: DEBATE
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Richards, who was named as the Rugby League Writers' Association player of the year earlier this month, was instrumental in helping Wigan to their best season for 10 years.

He scored 29 tries, kicked 135 points and amassed 388 points in total to top all three scoring charts and equal the Super League record set by former Wigan captain Andy Farrell.

Only two players have made more metres than Richards this season, and he is also joint top for clean breaks.

BBC 5 live's George Riley said: "Richards has been outstanding all season and was the overwhelming and obvious choice in my eyes.

"Remember, this award is for the player who has made the biggest impact on the season, and as such topping scoring charts doesn't always mean you'll get the vote.

"With the players choosing the winner they have recognised that as well as topping the try-scoring, goal-kicking and points-scoring charts, Richards has been consistently outstanding all over the pitch.

"Richards said this month that he perhaps wasn't even the best player at his own club this season, given the form of team-mates Sam Tomkins and Sean O'Loughlin, but his Super League peers recognise just what an impact he has had."

Special awards to mark their final seasons in Super League were made to St Helens captain Keiron Cunningham, Salford skipper Malcolm Alker and Wakefield captain Jason Demetriou.

BBC commentator and former dual code international Ray French received the Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award to mark his contribution to the game.



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see also
Leeds 6-26 Wigan
25 Sep 10 |  My Club
Richards wins RLWA player award
07 Sep 10 |  Wigan
Trio nominated for Man of Steel
16 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Hodgson wins Man of Steel honour
05 Oct 09 |  Rugby League


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