Man of Steel Richards praises Wigan team

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The Independent Online

Pat Richards paid tribute to his Wigan team-mates after being named Man of Steel for 2010 last night.

The prolific Warriors winger beat team-mate Sam Tomkins and Warrington's Adrian Morley to the UK game's most prestigious individual award.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding year, topping the try, goal and overall point-scoring charts with 29, 135 and 388 respectively during the regular Engage Super League season.

But Richards, who took time out from the Warriors' preparations for Saturday's Grand Final against St Helens to receive his award in Manchester, did not want to take all the credit.

"I was speechless at the time and it hasn't really sunk in yet," said the Australian-born Ireland international, who also collected a prize as top try-scorer.

"But it has been a great year for the team and I've been lucky enough to benefit from that with a couple of accolades.

"The team has been fantastic all year. Some players take accolades but there are others that go unnoticed and they are the rocks of our team.

"We have been getting closer and closer each year and getting to the Grand Final proves that.

"We won the League Leaders' Shield so hopefully we can take out the Super League title this week and cap an amazing year."

Richards' award completed a clean sweep of the major awards for Wigan.

Tomkins was named young player of the year, Michael Maguire coach of the year and chairman Ian Lenagan accepted the gong for club of the year.

Richards is now relishing what would could be a rousing end to the year against Wigan's fiercest rivals in the this weekend's Old Trafford showpiece.

He said: "I don't think there is a bigger rivalry in rugby league so to be involved in that in my first Grand Final in British rugby league I couldn't be happier.

"This has been the best season of my career and hopefully I can continue that this week and we put out our best performance on the park."