After last night’s success in the SPOTY awards, Kevin Sinfield wore his heart on his sleeve and payed his respects to all rugby league fans who voted for him in force.
Sir Kev eventually finished second, beaten by British tennis star Andy Murray, but received over 200,000 votes and became the first rugby league player to be nominated for the award.
The 35 year-old was second by some distance, with Team GB athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill in third place, and after the award ceremony he was clearly moved by his success.
With the sport growing to a wider audience, Sinfield’s success will no doubt give the sport a foothold to continue to push itself further in the sporting world.
“The rugby league family comes out and the support I’ve had over the last two, three weeks since the contenders were announced is so humbling,” he told BBC Leeds.
“I didn’t have any expectations coming in and that’s absolutely honest I just wanted to enjoy the night with some friends that I’ve had for a long time.
“Jess has had an amazing year, to do what she’s done on the back of having a baby is fantastic and obviously Andy with the Davis Cup win has been awesome.”
Sinfield was shortlisted for the award after guiding Leeds Rhinos to the treble in 2015, in his departing season with a moved to rugby union and Yorkshire Carnegie on the cards.
His teammates all turned out in Belfast to show their support and even stood by to collect the award and showed the togetherness that helped them in one of their most successful years last season.
Speaking after the event, Sinfield dedicated the award to the Leeds squad from last season and in true rugby league fashion showed the togetherness of the sport.
“When you come from a team sport, it’s that tribal towards you’re club but the way the sport has rallied round and voted I didn’t expect that at all,” he added.
“I’ve moved codes now and it was a chance to spend one more night with all my teammates who I’ve spent such a long time with and it was a chance to enjoy the evening and to come runner-up was awesome.
“When you look at what we did as a team, I owe everything to rugby league and I owe everything to those guys who I played alongside last year and to be sat here now is quite uncomfortable because I’ve played in a team my whole life and to win an individual award is pretty tough.”