O’Loughlin backing Sinfield for BBC award

England's Sean O'Loughlin succeeded Kevin Sinfield as national captain
England's Sean O'Loughlin succeeded Kevin Sinfield as national captain

SEAN O’Loughlin is hoping Kevin Sinfield becomes rugby league’s first BBC Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow night.

O’Loughlin, who played alongside Sinfield for England and succeeded him as captain, says his place on the shortlist will deliver a boost to the code’s profile.

“Not only is it a huge achievement for Kev, but recognition for our sport on a big scale like that, which is great,” said O’Loughlin.

“I went to the event a few years ago and the more rugby league we can get out there, in front of such a big audience, the better.”

Sinfield – who captained Leeds to a treble of trophies in his final season – is 8/1 third favourite for the coveted prize, behind tennis superstar Andy Murray and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.

“What Kev has achieved, and what he’s done in his career, has been fantastic and it’s fitting now that his league career has come to an end that he’s getting recognition like this,” added O’Loughlin.

“If he won (the award), it would be great for him but great for us as a sport as well.”

Leeds and the RFL are urging fans to put club allegiances aside.

Wigan legend Shaun Edwards, the most decorated player in the game, said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic for Kevin to be nominated for Sports Personality of the Year.

“Kevin is a great role model for kids growing up wanting to play the sport and is very dedicated to what he does, which was evident when they won the treble this year.

“He thoroughly deserves his nomination and it would be great for him to win it for himself and also for rugby league.”

Ex-Wigan and St Helens player Sean Long added: “No matter who you support, I think fans from every club should vote for him.”

Meanwhile, Liam Farrell was set to tie the knot to fiancee Laura today.

Brother Connor, a Warriors team-mate, is best-man and said he will be as nervous delivering his speech as when he made his debut.

“Waney has already said if I start crying he’s going to get me straight away,” he smiled.