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The Yonner

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  1. You are correct Harry Sunderland is a historical figure, but the point is the Harry Sunderland Trophy exists in the present.
  2. I notice that Jason Robinson will have the honour of presenting the Harry Sunderland Trophy to the player judged to be the best in the Super League Grand Final. I wonder if Jason is aware that the man the trophy is named after was a notorious racist bigot? In "A People's Game: The Official History of Rugby League 1895- 1995", author Geoffrey Moorhouse describes how Sunderland, when Manager of Wigan in the late 1930's, treated black winger, Roy Francis: " Roy Francis of Wigan, Barrow, Dewsbury, Warrington and Hull, spectacular winger and afterwards an inspired coach, had to leave his first club because its new manager had no time for blacks, and was omitted from Risman's touring party because it was expedient to do without him while Australia operated a colour bar, as it did in 1946 and for many years after." I never understood why, this being revealed in the officially commissioned centenary history of the game, that the Rugby League Writers did not see fit to rename its award, to commemorate a more appropriate historical figure, suitable for the modern age? If rugby league is serious about projecting an image of an inclusive, modern sport with equal oopportunities for all backgrounds, surely it is high time this glaring anachronism is addressed? If you want a suggestion for the renamed trophy, how about The Roy Francis Trophy?
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