Congratulations to LoveSport supporters St Helens Rugby League FC on a further two prestigious accolades. It has been announced that Paul Wellens has won ‘Rugby Player of the Year’, while Daniel Anderson scooped Coach of the Year at the BBC North West Sport Awards 2006.
You may remember that Saints’ loveable mascot Saint Bernard was on hand a few ago for the launch of LoveSport exhibition at World Museum Liverpool. The treble-winning side have had something of a dream season. They were crowned Super League Champions earlier in the year, as well as taking the League Leaders’ Shield and the Powergen Challenge Cup.
Paul Wellens has already been named Man of Steel, Players’ Player of the Year and Rugby League Writers’ Player of the Year, as well as taking the Harry Sunderland Trophy for his performance in this year’s Grand Final. Earlier in the year Daniel Anderson was named Super League’s Coach of the Year, James Graham was crowned Young Player of the Year, while Sean Long took the Lance Todd Trophy in the Challenge Cup Final.
Given the evidence, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the super Saints are also in the running for Team of the Year which will be announced at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony at Birmingham NEC on Sunday.
I am though. The only other rugby league team ever to have won the Team of the Year is Wigan RLFC’s 1994 side. Rugby league often struggles to get the attention it deserves in the media as it mistakenly dismissed as a ‘Northern’ sport for men with flat caps and whippets. In actual fact, rugby league is a great spectacle and a wonderful family game where you’ll find everyone from grandma to the youngest of youngsters screaming for their beloved team.
My fingers (and toes) are all crossed for the boys and I managed to get my text vote in before the deadline. Strangely enough, so did my Wigan-season-ticket-holding-husband - because victory for St Helens will be a much-needed boost for the game of rugby league and put this wonderfully entertaining sport in the spotlight.
St Helens are up against the European Ryder Cup Team and Sussex Cricket Team. While we're here, best of luck to Manchester boxer Ricky Hatton and Cheshire gymnast Beth Tweddle who will be competing for Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday.
The BBC North West Sports Personality of the Year show can be seen tonight Wednesday 6th December at 7pm on BBC 1.
Update: I don't believe it! They actually won. Read about it here. Well done lads. And another win for Daniel Anderson for Coach of the Year too!