Kennedy wins rlpa award

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Inspirational Manly captain Ben Kennedy impressed more than just his teammates in 2006, taking out rugby league's players' player of the year award.

Kennedy was awarded the premier gong by the Rugby League Professionals' Association (RLPA) at a ceremony in Sydney.

Considered the game's most inspirational skipper - and almost single-handedly responsible for leading a patchy Sea Eagles side into premiership contention - Kennedy's influence didn't go unnoticed by his peers across the NRL's 15 clubs whose votes determine the award winner.

Kennedy's win didn't come entirely as a surprise with the RLPA's website accidentally showing what looked like the final voting last week.

Kennedy was shown to be the winner, although RLPA boss Matthew Rodwell denied the site had shown an accurate result, an argument supported by the appearance of `80s stars Paul Vautin and Peter Sterling in the vote.

Voting went behind closed doors after round 20 of the NRL home and away season.

Melbourne wonder-kid Greg Inglis was also among the prizes, taking out the award for best back.

Parramatta second-rower Nathan Hindmarsh was named best forward while Brisbane winger Darius Boyd took the rookie of the year award.

Brisbane prop Petero Civoniceva was named Australian representative of the year while the Storm's David Kidwell took the rep footy gong for New Zealand.

Rodwell said the evening had underscored the value of an award voted on by players.

"It's fantastic to not only have so many players supporting the event but to see they also place such great importance on the awards themselves having been voted on by their peers," he said.

© 2006 AAP

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13 10 3 80 22
13 9 4 110 20
12 7 5 64 18
12 7 5 -37 18
13 7 6 133 16
13 7 6 81 16
13 7 6 47 16
13 7 6 -34 16
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14 7 7 -26 14
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13 4 9 -111 10
12 3 9 -123 10
12 3 9 -136 10
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