MELBOURNE Storm captain Cameron Smith capped a remarkable season, claiming his seventh Player of the Year award on Tuesday night.
In a season that included records for games, goals, wins, points for a forward, Dally M and premiership medallions, Smith added to his booty of accolades thirteen years after his first club champion award.
Smith won six of nine between 2005 and 2013, only Billy Slater (2008-09) and Ryan Hinchcliffe (2010) spoiling the future Immortal’s way successful streak.
Smith’s outrageously consistent 2017 season snapped Jesse Bromwich’s run of three consecutive Player of the Year awards.
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After leading Melbourne to consecutive minor premierships, champion hooker Smith was at his masterful best in the decider as Storm romped to 34-6 victory over North Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
Smith was instrumental in multiple tries, including two combining with long-time legendary teammates Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.
Smith assisted the clincher in the second half, flicking the Steeden to a rampaging Dale Finucane just metres from the stripe.
Contracted for next season, Smith is likely to partner Slater as Storm looks to become the first team since the 1992-93 Brisbane Broncos to defend their title.
The team were presented the Provan-Summons premiership trophy before an 800-strong crowd at Crown Palladium.
“It’s clearly been a pretty special year for myself and my family but also the Melbourne Storm,” Smith said.
“I’m not surprised by what we’ve achieved, I’ve always got faith and a lot of confidence in us being the very best we can be and when we are the very best we can be we’re better then anyone else, that’s not being arrogant or overconfident but I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen people from other organizations and I know that there’s none better than ours.
“It’s just been one of those years where things have fallen into place for our side and for me personally there’s been a few individual things that have come my way, that’s just because I’m an old bugger now.
“The individual accolades is not what any player of this club ever plays for, it’s not what we turn up to training for, it’s all about the team.
“Very very pleasing to be able to get the biggest accolade that you can get and that’s a premiership this year.”
In other awards on the night, Will Chambers was named best back for the first time in his career, while Bromwich snared best forward.
After 323 games in the purple jersey, departing legend Cooper Cronk received the revered Michael Moore Trophy as the 2017 Club Person of the Year.
Storm also unveiled the Cooper Cronk Medal, to be awarded annually to the best reserve grade player.
Halfback Brodie Croft, widely expected to replace Cronk next season in the famous number seven jersey, was the inaugural winner after an outstanding season with Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup.
Storm football director Frank Ponissi was awarded life membership, while Curtis Scott claimed the Rookie of the Year.
Storm second-rower Felise Kaufusi was named most improved just hours after being rewarded for a breakout season with his maiden Kangaroos jersey for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, which kicks off in Melbourne on October 27.