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Harry Sunderland

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1 minute ago, Dave T said:

If we had a blank canvas and decided to put 3 legends names against these three awards, I wonder how many would sit down today and land on Harry Sunderland, Lance Todd and Steve Prescott? 

I'm sure all are worthy and we're good and popular decisions when they were made, but I dont see a problem with regularly reviewing to see if they are still the ones we want. The problem with having that on an ad hoc basis though would be it could be hurtful to friends and family of these men. 

I think the main reason Steve Prescotts name was given to that Trophy was not just that he was a very good player but that he never gave up in his fight to beat cancer, raised terrific amounts of money for his own foundation and other trusts and continued in that vain until his death.  

Even at the end,  (3 weeks before his death I think) he went under the surgeons knife 5 times, for pioneering surgery aimed at helping others.  Many others would be waiting for the hammer to fall.  Not him.

I cant think of a single reason why someone showing such grit and determination to never to give in would not be welcomed as the name on such a trophy as Man of Steel.

 

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24 minutes ago, Lowdesert said:

I think the main reason Steve Prescotts name was given to that Trophy was not just that he was a very good player but that he never gave up in his fight to beat cancer, raised terrific amounts of money for his own foundation and other trusts and continued in that vain until his death.  

Even at the end,  (3 weeks before his death I think) he went under the surgeons knife 5 times, for pioneering surgery aimed at helping others.  Many others would be waiting for the hammer to fall.  Not him.

I cant think of a single reason why someone showing such grit and determination to never to give in would not be welcomed as the name on such a trophy as Man of Steel.

 

I've tried to be sensitive in this thread to this, and I agree with every word you have written above. I just question whether this is the award to honour that, I think a community, charity, hero of the year award is maybe more fitting. 

But I accept that all of this is just opinion as there are no hard and fast rules around why a name is attached to an award. 

My personal preference is to have a person with specific links to the award if possible, but I accept that is my personal view. 

Edit. I see Steve Prescott's biggest show of strength, character, bravery and humanity off the pitch, and feel an off-field award honours him more appropriately. 

Edited by Dave T
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26 minutes ago, wiganermike said:

The last sentence is the salient one in my opinion, the removal of the name from association with the award carries connotations when it has not been previously stated that it will eventually change and we are talking of a 55 year association (Sunderland) and 74 years (Todd). The idea of a rotating 10 year tenure is not without merit but I would suggest would be better applied to awards not already attached to a name chosen for honouring. It is similar to the system we use for bank notes. By using such a scheme on an award not already attached to a name we get the opportunity to honour a greater number of people without either creating endless awards or causing hurt to the family/descendants of those already honoured by suddenly removing their name somewhat arbitrarily.

Yes, it is a challenge, and I think if we did ever go down that route we would need to be considerate and engage with family members, and permanent records/tribute would need to be made to anyone who had the honour of being named, even if for 5 or 10 years. 

A problem with new awards is that these three are by far the biggest profile in the UK game. 

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Revisiting the Geoffrey Moorhouse book on the back of this the back of this topic it’s clear to me that there would probably be no Australian game without Harry Sunderland. He was instrumental in pushing League in Australia during the First World War when Union was weaker. The ethical debate about whether this was the correct thing to do during a time of war is another matter, but shouldn’t detract from his instrumental role in establishing the game here. Without Sunderland there would likely be no game in Australia. No game in Australia probably means we wouldn’t have a game over here or anywhere else.

If he is not seen as enough of a contemporary figure for a MOM award then fair enough, but to belittle his achievements within the game is ironic, seeing as many on this board are constantly bemoaning the throwing away of history and heritage within our sport when it suits. By all means criticise Sunderland for his possible racism (and I need to see more than an uncited source to make my own mind up about this), but don’t gloss over his contribution to the game. If you feel a more appropriate name for the MOM award is needed then fine, but in my opinion figures from our game’s past are the bedrock of our heritage and shouldn’t be thrown away on a whim.

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7 minutes ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

Revisiting the Geoffrey Moorhouse book on the back of this the back of this topic it’s clear to me that there would probably be no Australian game without Harry Sunderland. He was instrumental in pushing League in Australia during the First World War when Union was weaker. The ethical debate about whether this was the correct thing to do during a time of war is another matter, but shouldn’t detract from his instrumental role in establishing the game here. Without Sunderland there would likely be no game in Australia. No game in Australia probably means we wouldn’t have a game over here or anywhere else.

If he is not seen as enough of a contemporary figure for a MOM award then fair enough, but to belittle his achievements within the game is ironic, seeing as many on this board are constantly bemoaning the throwing away of history and heritage within our sport when it suits. By all means criticise Sunderland for his possible racism (and I need to see more than an uncited source to make my own mind up about this), but don’t gloss over his contribution to the game. If you feel a more appropriate name for the MOM award is needed then fine, but in my opinion figures from our game’s past are the bedrock of our heritage and shouldn’t be thrown away on a whim.

Nobody has belittled his achievements. We are page 7 in and you are the first person to position Sunderland in this way.

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58 minutes ago, wiganermike said:

Taken from an article on the RFL website, some information on Harry Sunderland's contribution to the sport for context as to why it was decided to honour him.

How Harry Sunderland earned his reputation in Rugby League

Born in Queensland, Australia, Harry Sunderland's (pictured in the suit on the left) first job was as a journalist at the fantastically named Toowoomba Chronicle

From 1913-1922 he worked as Queensland Rugby League secretary and his administration skills are credited with the growth of Rugby League in Queensland despite the First World War

In 1925, he returned to the QRL and managed the Kangaroo tours of England in 1929-30, 1933-34 and 1937-38

He returned to England with Wigan in 1938 to take up the role of Secretary/Manager at Central Park. His salary of £400 a year with added bonus (£3 for a win, £2 for a draw)

After leaving Wigan during the Second World War, he returned to journalism where he worked for the Daily Mail and the BBC as a Rugby League commentator.

From the same article

The Harry Sunderland medal is also awarded to the best Australian player in each home Ashes series.

 

He is honoured both here and in Australia for those achievements/duties. Why was the m.o.m in the Championship (later Premiership, now Grand) Final specifically chosen to bear his name as an honour? Perhaps as the Lance Todd Trophy had been awarded to honour an important figure since 1946 and that was also a m.o.m award at a major final.

True but sketcny. Sunderland was an obsessive, a fixer and a visionary. Lifelong obsessions were getting RL in Melbourne, France, London and USA.

In his 20's, he took Queensland RU over to RL in the WW1 period. Read any history of Australian RL..

While always a journalist, he was Australian tour manager but he saw the opportunities in France. Read "The Forbidden Game" by Rylance where he pushed the RFL for expansion asking to be made development officer for France and London.

In his 60's, he was stll a crusading journalist and targetting America. Read "No helmets Required" by Willacy for his part in the Dimitro tour.

His death i 1964 coincided with first MOM award, hence the connection.

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42 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I've tried to be sensitive in this thread to this, and I agree with every word you have written above. I just question whether this is the award to honour that, I think a community, charity, hero of the year award is maybe more fitting. 

But I accept that all of this is just opinion as there are no hard and fast rules around why a name is attached to an award. 

My personal preference is to have a person with specific links to the award if possible, but I accept that is my personal view. 

Edit. I see Steve Prescott's biggest show of strength, character, bravery and humanity off the pitch, and feel an off-field award honours him more appropriately. 

I agree Dave and I have avoided getting in that aspect of the debate out of respect. Im glad I did because you put it better than I ever could.

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23 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Yes, it is a challenge, and I think if we did ever go down that route we would need to be considerate and engage with family members, and permanent records/tribute would need to be made to anyone who had the honour of being named, even if for 5 or 10 years. 

A problem with new awards is that these three are by far the biggest profile in the UK game. 

We don't have to create new awards as we already have other awards given out at the same ceremony as the Steve Prescott MOS. Profile is conferred on the two m.o.m awards due to them being awarded as part of televised finals, profile is gained for the MOS because the sport promotes it, the award ceremony isn't broadcast. Press releases are sent out concerning the upcoming awarding and after the event about the recipient. Pundits and journalists fill air time and columns with speculation over likely candidates through the season. Similar measures could also be taken for other awards given on that night, they are already reported to a lesser extent (i.e a list of other award winners in those press releases). Coach of the Year Award could be used to honour people such as Roy Francis, Mal Reilly, Johnny Whiteley. Top try scorer award could be used to honour people like Brian Bevan, Billy Boston, Martin Offiah and Tom van Vollenhoven. Self promotion of awards will help raise their profile. Attaching an award to a revered figure from the sport (IMO) helps create a feeling that it should be discussed and promoted in their honour.

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30 minutes ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

Revisiting the Geoffrey Moorhouse book on the back of this the back of this topic it’s clear to me that there would probably be no Australian game without Harry Sunderland. He was instrumental in pushing League in Australia during the First World War when Union was weaker. The ethical debate about whether this was the correct thing to do during a time of war is another matter, but shouldn’t detract from his instrumental role in establishing the game here. Without Sunderland there would likely be no game in Australia. No game in Australia probably means we wouldn’t have a game over here or anywhere else.

If he is not seen as enough of a contemporary figure for a MOM award then fair enough, but to belittle his achievements within the game is ironic, seeing as many on this board are constantly bemoaning the throwing away of history and heritage within our sport when it suits. By all means criticise Sunderland for his possible racism (and I need to see more than an uncited source to make my own mind up about this), but don’t gloss over his contribution to the game. If you feel a more appropriate name for the MOM award is needed then fine, but in my opinion figures from our game’s past are the bedrock of our heritage and shouldn’t be thrown away on a whim.

Seems like pretty good reasons for Australia to honour him in some way. Not reasons for the British game to do so with the man of the match award in the Grand Final though. 

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38 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Nobody has belittled his achievements. We are page 7 in and you are the first person to position Sunderland in this way.

Failing to recognise his achievements in the context of this debate is belittling him in my opinion.  I have read all 7 pages and that is the conclusion I have reached. You clearly do not. No problem.

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17 minutes ago, Damien said:

Seems like pretty good reasons for Australia to honour him in some way. Not reasons for the British game to do so with the man of the match award in the Grand Final though. 

My point is there probably wouldn't even be a British game without him. It would have died many decades ago and there would be a single code of rugby worldwide.

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1 minute ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

My point is there probably wouldn't even be a British game without him. It would have died many decades ago and there would be a single code of rugby worldwide.

That does seem like a little bit of a logical leap 

Edited by Tommygilf
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8 minutes ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

My point is there probably wouldn't even be a British game without him. It would have died many decades ago and there would be a single code of rugby worldwide.

Of course there would be. There was a British game for decades before him. There was also a game in Australia. It is a giant leap that you are taking with no foundation. 

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13 minutes ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

Failing to recognise his achievements in the context of this debate is belittling him in my opinion.  I have read all 7 pages and that is the conclusion I have reached. You clearly do not. No problem.

This is part of the point, not many really know much about him. Not knowing about somebody isn't belittling him. 

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6 minutes ago, Dave T said:

This is part of the point, not many really know much about him. Not knowing about somebody isn't belittling him. 

I don't follow. Plenty is known about him as the Geoffrey Moorhouse book testifies - he features in 21 pages in this book alone. It's a single uncited passage in this book which is causing the controversy, but the rest of his history is well known to those who want to find out about him.

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13 minutes ago, Damien said:

Of course there would be. There was a British game for decades before him. There was also a game in Australia. It is a giant leap that you are taking with no foundation. 

Ironic seeing as this whole topic is based around a passage in a book with no foundation.

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Just now, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

Ironic seeing as this whole topic is based around a passage in a book with no foundation.

You obviously have not followed the thread and that is not what I was replying to, as well you know. Now you are shifting the debate back to something that hasn't really been discussed since page 1 because people dont agree with your assertion.

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7 minutes ago, Damien said:

You obviously have not followed the thread and that is not what I was replying to, as well you know. Now you are shifting the debate back to something that hasn't really been discussed since page 1 because people dont agree with your assertion.

Yes, I was being a bit facetious with my previous reply, but no need for the aggression. I've read every single post in this debate thanks and I'm just putting my view across. I understand that people find my logic flawed, that's fine, I'm not entirely sure I've thought it fully through myself 😀, but my argument would be that without a strong Australian game there is every chance there wouldn't be a game at all nowadays.

We are after all talking about the modern game here, not going back to the turn of the last century. The Sunderland MOM award is a contemporary award and my argument would be that you need a game that still exists to award it in the first place. In my opinion Sunderland was instrumental in building up the game in Australia, therefore laying the foundations for the success and popularity of the game everywhere. Without him I believe there's every chance the game would have withered away by the mid 20th century. That is my belief and I appreciate others think differently.

 

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The Maurice Lyndsay Medal? Surely there would be no disagreement on that one? 

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The Maurice Lyndsay Medal? Surely there would be no disagreement on that one? 

The Rupert Murdoch award for services to Championship RL 😉😉

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1 hour ago, Lapsed Leeds Fan said:

Yes, I was being a bit facetious with my previous reply, but no need for the aggression. I've read every single post in this debate thanks and I'm just putting my view across. I understand that people find my logic flawed, that's fine, I'm not entirely sure I've thought it fully through myself 😀, but my argument would be that without a strong Australian game there is every chance there wouldn't be a game at all nowadays.

We are after all talking about the modern game here, not going back to the turn of the last century. The Sunderland MOM award is a contemporary award and my argument would be that you need a game that still exists to award it in the first place. In my opinion Sunderland was instrumental in building up the game in Australia, therefore laying the foundations for the success and popularity of the game everywhere. Without him I believe there's every chance the game would have withered away by the mid 20th century. That is my belief and I appreciate others think differently.

 

Sunderland played a key role in getting England to play Australia in Paris in December 1933, leading to the establishment of the French Rugby League Federation the following year.

His record as a Rugby League expansionist is unequalled.

Having said that, the question about updating the names of awards is a relevant one.

But if we are going to do that, we should put a time limit on an award when it is inaugurated.

If not, then I can't see the merit in making changes for change's sake. Apart from anything else, Medals have continuity, in this case from Terry Fogerty in 1965 to Luke Thompson in 2019. Renaming the trophy would seem to break the mystique of the winners' list.

Other sports, or even non-sporting organisations, don't change the names on their trophies unless the original name carried by a trophy is somehow disgraced.

Vincent Lombardi died at a similar time to Harry Sunderland, but I rather doubt whether the NFL would re-name the trophy named after him for winning the Superbowl.

And Alfred Nobel died towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Would we all like to see the Nobel Prizes renamed after someone whose name had a more recent resonance?

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13 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

Sunderland played a key role in getting England to play Australia in Paris in December 1933, leading to the establishment of the French Rugby League Federation the following year.

His record as a Rugby League expansionist is unequalled.

Having said that, the question about updating the names of awards is a relevant one.

But if we are going to do that, we should put a time limit on an award when it is inaugurated.

If not, then I can't see the merit in making changes for change's sake. Apart from anything else, Medals have continuity, in this case from Terry Fogerty in 1965 to Luke Thompson in 2019. Renaming the trophy would seem to break the mystique of the winners' list.

Other sports, or even non-sporting organisations, don't change the names on their trophies unless the original name carried by a trophy is somehow disgraced.

Vincent Lombardi died at a similar time to Harry Sunderland, but I rather doubt whether the NFL would re-name the trophy named after him for winning the Superbowl.

And Alfred Nobel died towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Would we all like to see the Nobel Prizes renamed after someone whose name had a more recent resonance?

Just on this last point - Someone has already answered it before - but the two can't be compared - One was a fund set up by Nobel, so was naturally named after him, one is a Man of the Match award that would exist whether the name attached to it was there or not.

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3 minutes ago, Martyn Sadler said:

Sunderland played a key role in getting England to play Australia in Paris in December 1933, leading to the establishment of the French Rugby League Federation the following year.

His record as a Rugby League expansionist is unequalled.

Having said that, the question about updating the names of awards is a relevant one.

But if we are going to do that, we should put a time limit on an award when it is inaugurated.

If not, then I can't see the merit in making changes for change's sake. Apart from anything else, Medals have continuity, in this case from Terry Fogerty in 1965 to Luke Thompson in 2019. Renaming the trophy would seem to break the mystique of the winners' list.

Other sports, or even non-sporting organisations, don't change the names on their trophies unless the original name carried by a trophy is somehow disgraced.

Vincent Lombardi died at a similar time to Harry Sunderland, but I rather doubt whether the NFL would re-name the trophy named after him for winning the Superbowl.

And Alfred Nobel died towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Would we all like to see the Nobel Prizes renamed after someone whose name had a more recent resonance?

Off topic but Alfred Nobel funded and instigated the Nobel Prizes himself after realising that his legacy was somewhat tarnished due to his having developed dynamite and other explosives which were viewed as not totally favourable developments due to their often destructive and fatal applications. There is a (possibly apocryphal) story of him having read a mistakenly written obituary after he was thought to have died but hadn't. It was part of his own efforts to redress the balance and save his legacy. As such I doubt those particular awards would be a candidate for renaming.

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17 hours ago, Eddie said:

Racism and discrimination have been acceptable in the past though, as they still are in many places in the world now. As much as I’m sure we’d like to change that, it can’t be denied. 

I don't think you're correct on that one Eddie expressing it was more common place and accepted the racism itslf was not and never has been though our sport has to be at the vanguard of anti racism and prejudice. It has been so in the past but more of an effort is needed now.They knew perfectly well what they were up to and that it was wrong, they weren't stupid or ignorant. The past is a time period not a defense approach.

I wouldn't change the names for the sake of it and if it's true that the only supporting evidence is one paragraph that would be skimpy to say the least.

I have said what I believe one of the mission statements should be from the New Museum saying no to prejudice and racism means being multi levelled and widespread. When it honours BAME sportsmen/athletes from our past it honours our history as well as those individuals.

In any case I'll take my leave of you now bfore I'm shown the door ...... again. Stay well everyone.

Edited by Oxford

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Click said:

Just on this last point - Someone has already answered it before - but the two can't be compared - One was a fund set up by Nobel, so was naturally named after him, one is a Man of the Match award that would exist whether the name attached to it was there or not.

I pointed this out about 5 pages back so I'm glad you mentioned it. I was going to reply but all of Martyn's post has already been covered or answered so it would simply be a regurgitation of what has already been said.

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