RFL agree Harry Sunderland Trophy solution to honour former winners as award is retired


I WOULD like to thank the many past players and supporters who got in contact with me as regards the renaming of the Harry Sunderland Trophy following my letter in League Express (Mailbag, 19 February).

This week I had the opportunity to meet with Trevor Hunt and Gemma Carter, the chairman and secretary of the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association, and Andrew Wilson, the RFL head of media.

I’d like to thank them all for their time and for giving me the chance to put forward my complaints on how the Harry Sunderland Trophy name change was handled. 

The meeting was very cordial and positive and I am absolutely delighted that now it has been agreed that a ceremony will be carried out at the Grand Final to retire the old award with respect and grace and to bring in the new award and that all past winners or a remaining relative will be invited to join the ceremony.

They have also accepted that every previous winner of the Harry Sunderland award will have his name engraved on the new Rob Burrow Award under the era that they won it, from the Championship to the Premiership to the Grand Final. I am delighted with this as the Harry Sunderland Trophy didn’t have past winners names engraved on it. 

They have also agreed that the Harry Sunderland Trophy will be put on display in the cabinet at RFL headquarters alongside the Challenge Cup and Grand Final trophy, with a role of honour of past winners names by its side.

I am confident that there will also be a private event where past winners of the Harry Sunderland Trophy will be invited to attend and celebrate their achievement. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported me on social media and Martyn Sadler from League Express for printing my letter.

I’m sure that all 52 winners and their families will be happy with this outcome knowing that their names and history are carried on. 

Finally I’d like to congratulate Rob Burrow CBE, who I have nothing but the utmost respect for.