Rugby League has been given a massive boost in the run-up to the 2016 Super League campaign.
That’s the view of Colne Valley MP and Huddersfield Giants fan Jason McCartney, who as in the Belfast audience for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year spectacular on Sunday night.
And he was able to pass on his congratulations to Leeds Rhinos’ former captain Kevin Sinfield, who finished runner-up to tennis star Andy Murray in the awards, amassing 278, 353 votes - almost 200,000 ahead of third-placed Jessica Ennis-Hill.
There was also an appearance by Lizzie Jones, wife of Keighley Cougars star Danny who collapsed and died last season.
Huddersfield Giants tweeted: "Congratulations to Kevin Sinfield runner up on BBC #SPOTY"
And Giants’ and England centre Leroy Cudjoe tweeted: "Great performance by @LizzieJonesuk and a massive achievement for Kevin sinfield on 2nd place. #SPOTY2015."
Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary was one of many stars from other clubs who urged fans to vote for Sinfield.
Mr McCartney is vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group and a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
He believes Sinfield’s time in the spotlight can only be good for the sport.
“Kevin Sinfield and Leeds Rhinos did the sport proud and now Rugby League can benefit even more.
“I got the chance to offer my congratulations to Kevin who is a very humble guy, and he insisted it was a team thing.
“I think what came over from the awards was that this was a case of the entire Rugby League family coming together and backing it as a whole.
“Club rivalries were set aside to get behind Kevin, the first rugby league player to be nominated for the Personality award.
“He may have lost out to Andy Murray but he achieved something remarkable.
“It may have been the year of the Rugby Union World Cup but this was the time for Rugby League to be in the spotlight.
“Now I think we will see the benefits of that next season as people realise what a fast, athletic and exciting sport it is.
“The BBC also deserve credit because they show the Challenge Cup and the Rugby League Tests on free to air channels which can only widen the audience appeal”.