Bradford Bulls: Kearney is a ratings winner after landing T&A Player of Year award (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Brett Kearney scoops four awards at Bradford Bulls Player of Year bash
Brett Kearney has maintained the Aussie stranglehold on the Telegraph & Argus Player of the Year award by scooping the prize for the second time in three years.
The free-scoring full back enjoyed an outstanding campaign, weighing in with 15 tries and eight assists as well as proving an assured presence in defence.
Glenn Morrison won the award in 2009 and Heath L’Estrange in 2011, with Kearney now claiming it once again to add to his 2010 prize.
Signed from Cronulla Sharks ahead of the 2010 campaign, Kearney averaged 7.96 out of ten in the paper’s player ratings this season, staving off strong competition from Luke Gale, L’Estrange, Jamie Langley and Elliott Whitehead .
Gale was just behind Kearney with 7.59, while L’Estrange’s class around the ruck earned him an average of 7.32. Langley claimed an average score of 7.20 and Whitehead finished with 7.18 after scoring 15 tries and impressing in both the centres and back row.
Manase Manuokafoa and Keith Lulia also scored highly after impressive debut campaigns at Odsal.
The 28-year-old Kearney was the big winner at last night’s end of season awards bash in the Coral Stand, winning three other trophies: Best Back of 2012, Players’ Player of the Year and Player of the Year as voted for by the fans.
Elliott Whitehead won Top Tackler and Best Forward of 2012 while Bryn Hargreaves announced his retirement in a special presentation along with Ben Jeffries and Ian Sibbit, who are also hanging up their boots.
Hargreaves is set for a move overseas and received the Prize Bull award from coach Mick Potter for his outstanding contribution in 2012.
Potter, Francis Cummins, Lee St Hilaire, Paul Medley and Stu Barrow received a Fans Appreciation award from BullBuilder, while Heath L’Estrange landed the Community Player of the Year award.
T&A winner Kearney confirmed his status as one of the best full backs in Super League in 2012.
He scored four tries in the opening four rounds, helping Mick Potter’s team to victories at Castleford and Wakefield, before touching down again twice in the next four games.
Midway through the season, he spent five successive games on the sidelines due to injury but was otherwise a virtual ever-present.
His willingness to support the attack from deep and coveted knack of being in the right place at the right time was evidenced against London Broncos at Odsal on July 8.
Kearney scored four tries during the 44-12 victory and also touched down in memorable victories at Wigan and Huddersfield.
On March 20, Kearney became a father for the first time when his wife Ashley gave birth to daughter Ruby-Moon.
Catalan Dragons, meanwhile, have confirmed the signing of Olivier Elima for a second time following the expiry of his contract at Bradford.
The France skipper, who played for the French club from 2008-10 after starting out his Super League career with Castleford and Wakefield, has signed a two-year deal to return to Perpignan.