Former Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield says it is a ‘huge honour’ to be on the shortlist for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The 35 year-old left the Rhinos in style by leading them to the League Leaders’ Shield, Challenge Cup and Grand Final glory before switching codes to join Yorkshire Carnegie.
The Rhinos themselves are up for the Team of the Year gong following their historic treble.
And the former England captain says it’s great to see the 13-man code in the spotlight:
“It’s great to get a chance to represent rugby league and try to get it the recognition it fully deserves,” he told Press Association Sport via Eurosport.
“I owe everything in my life to rugby league and especially the Rhinos so to be the first to be nominated is brilliant and something I’m very proud of.”
Sinfield is the first rugby league player to be nominated for the prestigious award since it’s inception in 1954.
“It’s a huge, huge honour and really humbling to be included with the personalties on that list,” he added.
Support for Sinfield to win the award is growing on social media sites, with Twitter account ‘@Kev4SPOTY’ gaining over 1000 followers since November 30th.
Meanwhile, the Rhinos and Super League have made videos encouraging people to cast their vote for Sinfield:
“I’ve seen both videos and I think it’s really nice. They’re absolutely first class,” Sinfield said.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve this year at the Rhinos and I’m very fortunate that I’ve got so much support around me and so many people who care about our sport.
“I think what we’ve found with rugby league is it has always got behind and looked after its own, whether that’s in good or bad times.
“It’s a really special sport and people from rugby league stick together. I think they appreciate that it’s really important to spread the word and to try to give our game the spotlight and attention it deserves and has probably craved for a long, long time.
“I just think over the last few years in particular the amount of attention rugby league has got on the show has probably been about 15 seconds each year.
“Hopefully with myself being nominated and Leeds being up for Team of the Year we’ll get a bit more airtime just to showcase what our sport is about because it’s a fantastic family sport.
“There’s a lot of honesty and some great values that our sport produces. It’s nice to be right at the heart of that and I’m really looking forward to the night.”