The RFL has offered its congratulations to Kevin Sinfield, the former Leeds skipper, after he finished second in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Sinfield faced stiff competition for the award from the likes of tennis star Andy Murray, who won the award.
Chief executive of the RFL, Nigel Wood, hailed Sinfield as one of rugby league’s greatest ever players.
“Kevin Sinfield is without doubt one of the greatest players to ever play rugby league,” he said.
“He is an outstanding individual and a superb role model and I congratulate him on finishing second in the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
“I have known Kevin for many years and could not think of anyone more deserving of this recognition.
He is the ultimate professional, an inspirational captain and the way in which he finished his rugby league career, leading Leeds Rhinos to a historic treble, was a fitting end for a true great of our sport.
“This award caps an incredible year for rugby league in this country. A series win for England against New Zealand, a new Super League format in which the League Leaders Shield was decided with the last play of the game and now recognition from people across the country of one of the best rugby league players of the last 20 years. It has a lot to live up to, but I can’t wait for the 2016 season to begin.”
Chairman of the RFL, Brian Barwick, also praised Lizzie Jones, widow of the late Danny Jones, who sang at the awards ceremony in Belfast.
“What a tremendous achievement for Kevin Sinfield and thank you to all Rugby League supporters who voted for him,” he said.
“Finishing second in such an outstanding field of contenders makes it a very special night for rugby league.
“Kevin is a very humble guy but his immediate legacy to the game is to put it right at the forefront of British sport on what is always a very important night.
“Kevin and Leeds Rhinos can reflect on a very special season which was rightfully showcased tonight.
“This on an evening when Lizzie Jones’ performance of Danny Boy was acknowledged by a standing ovation here in the arena. Lizzie is a credit to our sport and we are all incredibly proud of her.”