Harry Sunderland Trophy

How Harry Sunderland earned his reputation in Rugby League

Born in Queensland, Australia, Harry Sunderland’s first job was as a journalist at the fantastically named Toowoomba Chronicle. From 1913-1922 he worked as Queensland Rugby League secretary and his administration skills are credited with the growth of Rugby League in Queensland despite the First World War. In 1925, he returned to the QRL and managed the Kangaroo tours of England in 1929-30, 1933-34 and 1937-38.

He returned to England with Wigan in 1938 to take up the role of Secretary/Manager at Central Park. His salary of £400 a year with added bonus (£3 for a win, £2 for a draw). After leaving Wigan during the Second World War, he returned to journalism where he worked for the Daily Mail and the BBC as a Rugby League commentator.

Harry Sunderland Trophy Facts

  • The trophy was first awarded in 1964/65 season following Sunderland’s death
  • Halifax’s Terry Fogarty was the first winner of the trophy, for his Man of the Match performance against St Helens in the Championship Final
  • The winner is now determined by votes from journalists part of the Rugby League Writers Association
  • The Harry Sunderland medal is also awarded to the best Australian player in each home Ashes series.
  • Rob Burrow became the first player to gain a unanimous vote for trophy winner in 2011 in Leeds Rhinos victory over St Helens.

Harry Sunderland Trophy at the Grand Final

  • Jason Robinson was the first man to win the Harry Sunderland Trophy at Old Trafford, when his Wigan side beat Leeds Rhinos 10-4
  • The trophy has been handed to a player on the losing side three times; Henry Paul (Bradford Bulls, 1998), Paul Deacon (Bradford Bulls, 2002) and Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, 2018)
  • Despite appearing in 11 Grand Finals, former Leeds and Bradford man Jamie Peacock has never won the Harry Sunderland Trophy

Winners List

Awarded in
2021 Grand Final Kevin Naiqama St. Helens
2020 Grand Final James Roby St. Helens
2019 Grand Final Luke Thompson St. Helens
2018 Grand Final Stefan Ratchford† Warrington
2017 Grand Final Danny McGuire Leeds
2016 Grand Final Liam Farrell Wigan
2015 Grand Final Danny McGuire Leeds
2014 Grand Final James Roby St. Helens
2013 Grand Final Blake Green Wigan
2012 Grand Final Kevin Sinfield Leeds
2011 Grand Final Rob Burrow Leeds
2010 Grand Final Thomas Leuluai Wigan
2009 Grand Final Kevin Sinfield Leeds
2008 Grand Final Lee Smith Leeds
2007 Grand Final Rob Burrow Leeds
2006 Grand Final Paul Wellens St. Helens
2005 Grand Final Leon Pryce Bradford
2004 Grand Final Matt Diskin Leeds
2003 Grand Final Stuart Reardon Bradford
2002 Grand Final Paul Deacon† Bradford
2001 Grand Final Michael Withers Bradford
2000 Grand Final Chris Joynt St. Helens
1999 Grand Final Henry Paul† Bradford
1998 Grand Final Jason Robinson Wigan
1997 Premiership Final Andrew Farrell Wigan
1996 Premiership Final Andrew Farrell Wigan
1995 Premiership Final Kris Radlinski Wigan
1993-94 Premiership Final Sam Panapa Wigan
1992-93 Premiership Final Chris Joynt St. Helens
1991-92 Premiership Final Andy Platt Wigan
1990-91 Premiership Final Greg Mackey Hull
1989-90 Premiership Final Alan Tait Widnes
1988-89 Premiership Final Alan Tait Widnes
1987-88 Premiership Final David Hulme Widnes
1986-87 Premiership Final Joe Lydon Wigan
1985-86 Premiership Final Les Boyd Warrington
1984-85 Premiership Final Harry Pinner St. Helens
1983-84 Premiership Final John Dorahy Hull Kingston Rovers
1982-83 Premiership Final Tony Myler Widnes
1981-82 Premiership Final Mick Burke Widnes
1980-81 Premiership Final Len Casey Hull Kingston Rovers
1979-80 Premiership Final Mal Aspey Widnes
1978-79 Premiership Final Kevin Dick Leeds
1977-78 Premiership Final Bob Haigh Bradford Northern
1976-77 Premiership Final Geoff Pimblett St. Helens
1975-76 Premiership Final George Nicholls St. Helens
1974-75 Premiership Final Mel Mason Leeds
1973-74 Premiership Final Barry Philbin Warrington
1972-73 Championship Final Mike Stephenson Dewsbury
1971-72 Championship Final Terry Clawson Leeds
1970-71 Championship Final Bill Ashurst† Wigan
1969-70 Championship Final Frank Myler St. Helens
1968-69 Championship Final Bev Risman Leeds
1967-68 Championship Final Gary Cooper Wakefield Trinity
1966-67 Championship Final Ray Owen Wakefield Trinity
1965-66 Championship Final Albert Halsall St. Helens
1964-65 Championship Final Terry Fogerty Halifax

† = denotes a player who won the trophy but played on the losing team in the final.