Tomkins edges out Coote for UK league gong

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Catalans Dragons and England full-back Sam Tomkins has been voted the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association's player of the year for the third time, edging out former NRL star Lachlan Coote.

Tomkins, who won the award back to back as a Wigan player in 2011 and 2012, has been pivotal in the Dragons' best-ever Super League campaign.

The French club, home to retiring playmaker James Maloney, lifted the League Leaders' Shield and on Thursday night in Perpignan will take on Hull KR for a place in the grand final.

Tomkins polled two-thirds of the votes of association members to land the Ray Fletcher Shield ahead of Castleford's Paul McShane and the St Helens trio of Coote, Alex Walmsley and Morgan Knowles.

Tomkins, who is also on the Steve Prescott Man of Steel short-list, paid tribute to his teammates.

He said: "The season's gone well for me but it goes hand in hand as a full-back, you can play well if the guys in front of you are doing well.

"We've got players in the team that have been eight and nine out of 10 all year and, for me to play in a confident group on the front foot, as a full-back that gives you the opportunity to play well.

"I'm reaping the rewards of the guys in front of me playing well."

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