Newcastle Knights back rower Jeremy Smith has been named the 2012 Kiwi Player of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby League Annual Awards in Auckland last night.
The former Cronulla Shark, who recently moved to Newcastle to play under super-coach Wayne Bennett, missed the Kiwis' October test against the Kangaroos in Townsville, but was judged to be the top New Zealand league representative this season.
Smith received the Steve Watene Memorial Trophy, named after the famed Kiwis captain from the 1930s, with the award presented to him by Kiwis legend Howie Tamati.
The Steve Watene Memorial Trophy was given to the top New Zealand player between 1969 and 1992, and has been re-instated as the top award from this year.
Warriors utility Ben Henry was named Kiwi Rookie of the Year, while young Roosters fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck took out the award for Kiwi Junior Player of the Year.
Departing NZRL Jim Doyle was honoured at the awards ceremony.
The NZRL are currently on a search to appoint a successor for the Scotsman, who is credited with turning around the sport's administration and approach in New Zealand.
- Fairfax Media