Key Points:

Former Kiwi captain Mark Graham is the New Zealand Rugby League's player of the century.

Rated the world's best back rower at his peak, Graham captained the Kiwis in 18 of the 29 tests he played from 1977-88.

"This is incredibly humbling," said Graham, who travelled from Australia to attend the annual awards dinner last night.

"It's unbelievable to think I've been singled out from all the players who have worn the Kiwi jersey over the past 100 years."

Also honoured was the late Cliff Johnson, who was named captain of the century. A 34-test veteran from 1950-60, prop Johnson led the Kiwis 14 times and played a total of 70 matches for his country.

A panel of six selected the best of the best to mark New Zealand rugby league's 100th anniversary.

Players from the 1950s era dominated the final selection. They were fullback Des White, centre Tom Baxter, winger Tom Hadfield, standoff George Menzies, hooker Jock Butterfield and second rower Ron Ackland. Named at loose forward was Mel Cooke, who started his test career in 1959.

Roger Bailey (1961-70) was the other centre and Phil Orchard (1969-75) the other winger.

Completing the team were Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones.

Kiwi captain Roy Asotasi was named Player of the Year and Sam Perrett Rookie of the Year.


Junior player: Ben Matulino (Wellington). Referee: Leon Williamson (Auckland). Bartercard Cup Coach: Brent Gemmell (Auckland Lions). Bartercard Cup player: Kelvin Wright (Auckland Lions). Woman: Honey Hireme (Papakura). Personality: Steve Price (Vodafone Warriors.