Rugby League fans have been on something of a crusade since the BBC released their list of ten nominees for the Sports Personality of the Year Award, which will be handed out this Sunday in Glasgow.
The omission of Sam Burgess from that shortlist is one that caught many fans of the game by surprise, especially given his heroics for South Sydney Rabbitohs during their NRL Grand Final win against Canterbury Bulldogs. There have been pleas to boycott the TV programme because of Burgess being left off the list.
However, in our constant quest for recognition from the mainstream media, there is perhaps one other Rugby League individual that deserves even more of a mention this Sunday, as pointed out in one of our interviews in this week’s issue of League Express.
Wigan rugby manager Kris Radlinski makes the point that the late Steve Prescott MBE should be honoured in some way at the event, with the Helen Rollason Award a perfect tribute to a man who achieved so much, despite battling a rare form of stomach cancer for over seven years after initially being given just months to live.
The award is named after former broadcaster Helen Rollason, who raised over £5 million to set up a cancer wing at the North Middlesex Hospital, before tragically passing away from the disease in August 1999, aged just 43.
Given how the award is given for “outstanding achievement in the face of adversity”, surely there cannot be a better candidate for the gong than the former Hull and St Helens fullback?
The award has been handed out posthumously in the past, with former snooker player Paul Hunter one such example back in 2006.
Steve did an incredible job to raise awareness, despite being gravely ill, with the Steve Prescott Foundation raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity since its launch.
His inspirational story has caught the attention of several high profile figures outside of Rugby League circles, including former England footballer Michael Owen. He tweeted last week: “Got #oneinamillion on my Xmas list! The inspirational story of rugby league legend and man of steel @StevePrescott1 – a remarkable man.”
You can read Radlinski’s thoughts on any potential recognition for Prescott on page 5 of this newspaper, but we definitely echo his thoughts on the matter.
Here’s hoping that at their annual awards ceremony this Sunday, the BBC manage to do the same, and honour Steve in a way that he fully deserves. It would certainly be a case of better late than never.