Leeds Rhinos legend included in the New Year’s Honours List along with two others from rugby league

It’s been a difficult two years for rugby league largely down to the pandemic but in the last 24 months we’ve also seen so much good come from the world of rugby league.

Kevin Sinfield and others have pushed themselves to the brink to raise money in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease whilst Rob Burrow courageously battles it day by day.

The rugby league community came together for Mose Masoe after a career-ending injury whilst the likes of women’s rugby league, PDRL and wheelchair rugby have all made massive steps forward making rugby league all the more inclusive.

So, it should come as no surprise that three people involved in our great game have been included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

The headline inclusion from a rugby league point of view is that of Jamie Jones-Buchanan. The Leeds legend gave 20 years of service to the club beginning his career in 1999 before last pulling on the blue and amber for Rob Burrow in a shared testimonial with his former teammate just months after retiring at the end of 2019.

In his long and illustrious career he won seven Super League titles which is the third highest total in the competition’s history behind teammates Jamie Peacock, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow. He also won the Challenge Cup in 2014, three World Club Challenges, three League Leaders’ Shields and was an England international.

Now on the coaching staff at Headingley, he’s done plenty for the wider community in Leeds as part of the Leeds Rhinos foundation, Leeds 2023 Year of Culture and the Red Ladder Theatre Company.

He was awarded an MBE for services to Rugby League Football and the community in Leeds.

His reaction to receiving the honour was quite hilarious however as he stated: “When lads from Bramley get letters like that, it’s not usually good news.”

Interestingly Kevin Sinfield was not included having been awarded an OBE last year. Many hoped that this 101 mile run in 24 hours would lead to him finally becoming Sir Kevin Sinfield officially.

Elsewhere in rugby league Emma Rosewarne has been awarded the MBE for services to Rugby League Football after a distinguished career of almost four decades with the RFL and Rugby League Cares in a wide range of roles, including as a pioneering Head of Welfare who was respected across sport and beyond.

Meanwhile, Adam Hills has been awarded the OBE for services to Paralympic Sport and Disability Awareness. The Australian presenter of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, a lifelong supporter of South Sydney Rabbitohs, has been instrumental in the development of Physical Disability Rugby League since playing for Warrington Wolves in the first ever fixture in this country against Leeds Rhinos Foundation in 2018.

A documentary made to follow Warrington’s trip to Australia to play Souths won in the Television / Digital Documentary category at the British Sports Journalism Awards in 2019, and Adam is an official ambassador for the Rugby League World Cup which will be played in England in the autumn of 2022.

On the awards, RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer said: “These awards are fitting recognition for three wonderful people who have given so much to the sport of Rugby League.

“Jamie Jones-Buchanan embodies the best qualities of the sport – a fearless competitor on the field, immensely respected by all who played with and against him, and continuing since retirement as a magnificent servant and ambassador for Leeds Rhinos, his hometown club, as well as for the city itself.

“Emma Rosewarne has been a trailblazer both as a woman in sports administration, and also in the range of roles she filled with such distinction, culminating in her outstanding work on player welfare, both with the RFL and Rugby League Cares.

“Adam Hills has also been a trailblazer in our sport, in his case for Physical Disability Rugby League. He’s taken the inspirational stories of the players involved to a national and international audience – and the great thing is he’s continued to play himself, despite the odd setback, with his unmistakeable love for the sport proving both uplifting and infectious.

“I’m so pleased Jamie, Emma and Adam have been recognised in this way, and I’m sure many others across Rugby League and well beyond will feel the same way.”

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