15th September 2016, 13:17 | grand final

Who was Harry Sunderland?

Who was Harry Sunderland?

Find out more about the man credited for growth of Rugby League in Queensland, and how the Super League final man of the match trophy was named after him.

How Harry Sunderland earned his reputation in Rugby League

  • Born in Queensland, Australia, Harry Sunderland's (pictured in the suit on the left) 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.

Jason Robinson was the first man to win the trophy at Old Trafford.

Paul Deacon won the trophy on the losing side in 2002.


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.

Rob Burrow was the first man to win the trophy twice, in 2007 and 2011.

Kevin Sinfield won the trophy in 2009 and 2012.


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
  • Only two players have won multiple Harry Sunderland Trophies; Leeds Rhinos duo Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow who have both won it twice
  • The trophy has twice been handed to a player on the losing side; Henry Paul (Bradford Bulls, 1998) and Paul Deacon (Bradford Bulls, 2002)
  • Despite appearing in 11 Grand Finals, former Leeds and Bradford man Jamie Peacock has never won the Harry Sunderland Trophy