Wigan Warriors chief & ex-England international honoured by Rugby Football League who confirm hierarchy rejig

Ben Olawumi
The Brick Community Stadium, Wigan

The Brick Community Stadium, the home of Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors chairman Professor Chris Brookes and ex-England international Andrea Dobson have both been added to the RFL’s Roll of Honour, with a minor rejig also confirmed in the governing body’s hierarchy.

Established 20 years ago, there are now 53 names on the Roll of Honour, which recognises ‘individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the game across both playing and off-field service’.

Widnes Vikings legend Frank Myler was the first name put on the list, which also includes the likes of St Helens icon Ray French MBE, ‘the voice of rugby league’ Eddie Hemmings and long-serving journalist Julie Stott.

Brookes and Dobson were formally added at a meeting of the Rugby League Council in Huddersfield today.

Wigan Warriors chief Professor Chris Brookes & former England international Andrea Dobson honoured by Rugby Football League

Medical professional Brookes has been involved in the sport for close to three decades, first linking up with Chorley Borough and then Salford – now Red Devils – in their first Super League campaign back in 1997.

There was also a stint at Bradford Bulls before joining Wigan in 2007, the same year he became the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer having served as doctor to the men’s national team for six years prior. Across Great Britain and England fixtures, Brookes worked over 100 international games under six different head coaches.

Appointed as Wigan’s Vice Chairman earlier this year, the stalwart has succeeded Ian Lenagan as the Cherry and Whites’ Chairman, and accordingly relinquished his role at the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dobson meanwhile made her international debut for Great Britain aged 16 in 2003, featuring in England Women’s first-ever game back in 2007 and being awarded Heritage Number eight in the process.

Earning a total of 30 international caps over 16 years, which at the time she retired was a record, the ex-forward played at four World Cups, captaining England Down Under in the 2017 edition.

Having enjoyed a sterling career at club level, mainly for Featherstone Rovers, she is the only woman on the club’s Legends Wall at Post Office Road, and continues to play a key role in the growth of the female game as the Rugby League Development Officer for Championship outfit Sheffield Eagles, where she’s worked since 2021.

Speaking to the RFL’s website, Chief Executive Tony Sutton said: “We were delighted to confirm to the Rugby League Council that Professor Chris Brookes and Andrea Dobson have been added to the Roll of Honour.

“Andrea becomes the 12th woman on the Roll of Honour, a recognition of the inspirational role she played on the field for club and country in the development of the women’s and girls game, and also the contribution she continues to make through her position at Sheffield.

“Chris is held in huge respect by hundreds or probably thousands of players, coaches and officials with whom he has worked so closely over the last three decades. I’m delighted that these two worthy additions to the Roll of Honour will continue to contribute to the sport.”

RFL confirm minor hierarchy rejig

Sue Taylor MBE has now stepped down from her role as the RFL’s Vice President following 18 months in the role, and will be succeeded by Trevor Hunt.

BBC Radio Manchester commentator Hunt currently chairs the National Conference League, and will now work alongside the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, who will serve a second year as the RFL’s President in 2024.

RFL Chief Sutton thanked Taylor for her efforts, adding: “Sue Taylor has been outstanding in the role of Vice President, initially with Clare Balding CBE as RFL President and this year with Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP.

“Her love for the sport is matched by her knowledge of it – as is shown by the fact that she was added to the Roll of Honour last year.”

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