Woman of Steel can end rugby league’s 12-year BBC Sports Personality of the Year drought

Sebastian Sternik
In order to find the last rugby league Sports Personality of the Year award winner you would have to go back 12 years to 2006. That was the year when Daniel Anderson claimed the coaches prize while his Saints side won team of the year.  

With the exception of a 2nd place SPOTY award for Kevin Sinfield in 2015, rugby league hasn’t won anything for more than a decade but, that could be about to change. 

Following a phenomenal debut season in the Women’s Super League for Castleford Tigers, Georgia Roche has been nominated for the coveted Young Sports Personality of the Year award. 

Previous Rugby League SPOTY Winners

1990 – Mal Meninga (Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award)
1994 – Wigan (Sports Personality Team of the Year)
2006 – Daniel Anderson (Sports Personality of the Year Coach award)
2006 – St. Helens (Sports Personality Team of the Year)
2015 – Kevin Sinfield (2nd Place – Sports Personality of the Year award)  

Roche hit the headlines last month by becoming the first ever Woman of Steel at the annual Man of Steel awards. The loose forward is now waving the flag for the entire sport as she takes on nine other candidates for the award.  

Speaking after the nomination, Roche said: “I didn’t expect to get nominated for woman of steel never mind young sports personality of the year. It’s a huge honor to be nominated alongside so many talented athletes.”

Other contenders for the award include the likes of James Bowen (youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National), Anna Hursey (12-year-old table tennis player who competed at the Commonwealth Games) and Ryan Sessegnon (helped Fulham to promotion and won Championship player of the season award).  

Castleford Tigers Women head coach, Lindsay Anfield spoke about the nomination and said: “It is a real privilege for the Club and town of Castleford to have Georgia shortlisted for this prestigious national award.

“It is not often Rugby League gets nominated for these awards so this is groundbreaking for the club and women’s rugby league. It is real proof the women’s game is taking off in a big way and Georgia is an inspiration to many young aspirating girls.”

The winner is set to be announced at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards this coming Sunday.