Widnes Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts has hailed Kevin Sinfield and Leeds Rhinos after the treble-winning skipper finished second in BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Sinfield polled 278,353 of the votes to finish second to tennis player Andy Murray, who earned 361,446 votes.
The former Leeds skipper managed almost 200,000 more votes than third placed Jessica Ennis-Hill, and was also ahead of world champions Tyson Fury, Lewis Hamilton and Greg Rutherford, amongst others.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the Festive Derby against Warrington, Betts said: “I did vote for Kevin. I thought it was fantastic for rugby league.
“I hadn’t voted on SPOTY ever and this year I did. When you see the number of votes and hopefully it was not just rugby league people who voted, to get him in to second spot it makes you really proud of rugby league. And really proud of the Leeds club.
“It justified what he’s done over the past 10 years, and the same with Jamie Peacock, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow, those lads who have been iconic figures in that group over the last 10 years, for them to be there and see Kevin on the stage.
“To get some justification for their hard work on a national stage is great for rugby league. Usually, we get a bypass of about five minutes, this year, rugby league was in the limelight.”
Treble-winners Leeds are the first visitors to Widnes in the 2016 First Utility Super League season, coming to the Select Security Stadium on Sunday February 14.
The Vikings first action at home ahead of the 2016 season comes in the Festive Derby against Warrington Wolves on Sunday December 27 (3pm).
Widnes Vikings v Warrington Wolves, Select Security Stadium, Sunday 27 December, 3pm
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