Former Wigan and Great Britain coach Brian Noble was “thrilled” to collect his MBE at Buckingham Palace.
The former Bradford and Wigan coach, who has enjoyed a near 40-year career in the sport as a player and a coach, collected the honour from the Duke of Cambridge.
“I’m thrilled. It’s thrilling, genuinely thrilling,” he said.
“If a little lad from Manningham in Bradford can reach these heights it’s a message for everybody in the country.
“If you persevere and you’ve got some resilience about yourself you can be successful.”
Noble, 56, joked that he thought there might be a “clash of cultures” at the palace between his 90-year-old mother, who his family has nicknamed the Queen, and the real head of state.
He said: “Her nickname in our family is the Queen so we have been billing this fighting match as the Queen versus the Queen, but clearly the Queen wasn’t here, just Prince William.”
Laughing, he added: “We thought there was going to be clash of cultures, for sure.”
He said of his mother: “You could tell by the beaming smile on her face this morning and the fact she had bought herself a new outfit that it’s been a special day for her and a special day for the family.”
Harry Potter author JK Rowling was also at the Palace today as she was made a Companion of Honour.
Noble joined Wigan in 2006 and steered the club away from the threat of relegation. He left at the end of 2009.
He currently has a role with Toronto Wolfpack and worked as a summariser for the BBC during the World Cup.
Noble said he hoped there would be no “wholesale change” following England’s 6-0 loss to Australia in the final earlier this month
Asked for his thoughts on Bennett’s future, Noble admitted there is an element of bias as the pair are friends, but added that he feels he is doing a good job.
He said: “My views are that the team has played as well as it’s played in the last 20 years. So I wouldn’t be for wholesale change.”
He is hopeful Bennett will stay to “maintain that element of stability, and give the boys the opportunity to keep going in what’s clearly been a progressive manner”.
He added: “I think the players are very, very comfortable with him.”