Rugby League Expert & Columnist @RLBarrieMc10
Barrie McDermott: League Leaders' Shield should have Rob Burrow's name written all over it
Barrie McDermott believes that Rob Burrow's fighting spirit represents everything that is needed to win Super League's League Leaders Shield and that the trophy should be named after him
Last Updated: 08/12/20 2:15pm
What a week it's been in Rugby League. I was lucky enough to be with Kevin Sinfield for a few days during his massive fundraising effort for Rob Burrow and watched with admiration what Oliver Holmes did.
We certainly have some caring role models that we are rightly proud of in our game. Well done to everyone.
People with good memories will recall me floating the idea of putting a name and a face to Super League's League Leaders' Shield.
This year, Wigan Warriors rightly celebrated winning it. There was a bit of 'Will they? Won't they?' in the tussle with St Helens in the final weeks, and to put a name and some ownership to that prize I'd like to revisit the idea of considering naming it the Rob Burrow League Leaders' Shield.
What we've witnessed over the past year is that Rob Burrow's character is impeccable. His bravery, his courage, his kind heart and the way he connects with people.
Even though his only way of communicating now is by text and recorded message, he is still finding the time to text, to get on social media to interact with the fans and be what he knew he would be - so why not name the Shield after him?
It's right, it's fitting, it's proper and to name the trophy after such an inspirational man would be a perfect fit.
Part of the philosophy of our game is we are ordinary people with extraordinary jobs who probably still live in the communities we grew up in. We still live among the fans on the terraces.
The benevolent part of our game is something we should shout from the rooftops because, as we've seen this week from what 'Sir' Kevin Sinfield has done with his herculean seven marathons in seven days.
Rob is loved and respected throughout the sport and through Kevin's effort nationwide people are now hearing about Rob's spirit. When one of our own gets a debilitating illness from which he will eventually pay the ultimate cost, the rugby league family rallies around him.
The way that Kevin, Oliver Holmes and the whole game has rallied around Rob and celebrated him... to a man nobody has had a bad word to say about him.
In fact, the only bad words which have been said have been by his old Leeds Rhinos team-mates, who would tell you about locker-room banter where Rob was on the giving end and the big fellas he bullied were on the end of it!
He has lifted the League Leaders' Shield three times, he has lifted the Grand Final trophy eight times, so he has been an incredibly successful player. He did it against adversity and he had consistency - all of the things you have to have to win the shield is Rob Burrow.
The honour of winning the award will be elevated. In my opinion, Rob should be synonymous with it.
An unbelievable end to an unbelievable year
It's been an unbelievable season. I came home a bit shocked from the Grand Final and I'm still trying to process it, and watching it a couple of days later I found myself still as excited when that last-second try was scored, and still as stressed and nervous in the last five or 10 minutes as I was at the KCOM Stadium.
It was an unbelievable game. We haven't made enough of Jack Welsby or the fact it looked like Wigan were going to win it.
It looked like the opportunity was there for them to win it, but the kicks weren't landing, the passes weren't sticking, then up pops Tommy Makinson quickly followed by Jack Welsby.
What an amazing year we've had, but it doesn't mean anything if we don't do anything with it. It doesn't mean anything if we don't develop Jack Weslby as a young professional. The game must make the most of all these advantages.