St Helens’ Jodie Cunningham given Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters award

JODIE Cunningham has been presented with the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association’s Merit Award.

Cunningham, the St Helens captain who will be a key figure for England when the biggest ever Women’s Rugby League World Cup kicks off in Leeds this week, becomes the first woman to win the Arthur Brooks Trophy, which was first awarded in 1982 to recognise outstanding contributions to the presentation and profile of the sport.

Jodie was presented with the trophy by Clare Balding CBE, the President of the Rugby Football League, at the official launch of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup at The Hospitium in York’s Museum Gardens (photograph attached).

Trevor Hunt, the Chair of the RLWBA, said: “Jodie has been a trailblazer and a fantastic ambassador for Women’s Rugby League on and off the field.

“It’s amazing to think that she played in her first World Cup as a student in 2013, and since then her journey in Rugby League has reflected the growing profile of the women’s game.

“It’s wonderful that we are now seeing a new generation of girls wanting to emulate Jodie, Amy Hardcastle, Emily Rudge and the other fantastic players in the England squad – one of the most positive things that has happened to Rugby League in recent years.

“Throughout her career, Jodie has been a brilliant ambassador for Rugby League in general, and Women’s Rugby League in particular.

“With her own work in the media, her role as an official ambassador for the World Cup, and now as the RFL’s National Women’s and Girls’ Development Officer, she has played a number of key roles off the field – and of course she’s combined that with her brilliant performances for St Helens and England which are now being watched by the bigger crowds and TV audiences that they deserve.

“On behalf of the RLWBA, good luck to Jodie and the rest of the England team, and to the other seven teams who will compete in the Women’s World Cup over the next few weeks – and congratulations to Jodie for winning our Merit Award.”

Previous winners of the RLWBA Merit Award – which was named after the former Daily Mirror journalist Arthur Brooks – have included such great players as John Holmes (1985), Roger Millward (1986), Mal Meninga (1994), Shaun Edwards (1999), Steve Prescott (2009) and Kevin Sinfield (2017), as well as a wide range of other personalities from the sport such as Bernard Guasch, the Catalans Dragons president who was the 2021 winner.