Prof. Chris Brookes added to Roll of Honour

  • Wigan Chairman added to RFL Roll of Honour.
  • Professor Chris Brookes and Andrea Dobson the 52nd and 53rd people added.
  • Both recognised as hugely popular and respected individuals in Rugby League.

Wigan Chairman Professor Chris Brookes has been added to the Rugby Football League’s Roll of Honour at today’s meeting of the Rugby League Council in Huddersfield.

Brookes, along with Andrea Dobson, become the 52nd and 53rd names on the Roll of Honour, which was established in 2003 “to recognise individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the game across both playing and off-field service”.

Professor Brookes has become a hugely popular and respected figure in the sport through his work spanning almost three decades for a number of Clubs, his Country and for the last 16 years as Chief Medical Officer for the RFL.

His first Rugby League involvement came with Chorley Borough, before he joined the Salford Club, which had become his home city, in their first Super League season in 1997. He then crossed the Pennines for four years with Bradford Bulls during their golden era of 2003-6, before joining Wigan in 2007.

By that stage, he had been doctor to the national men’s team since 2001 – initially Great Britain with David Waite as head coach, subsequently working with Brian Noble, Tony Smith, Steve McNamara, Wayne Bennett and Shaun Wane, meaning a total of over 100 matches.

At Wigan, he was appointed as Vice Chairman earlier this year before it was announced that he would succeed Ian Lenagan as Chair this winter.

Professor Brookes advised the RFL earlier this year that he would stand down from his position as Chief Medical Officer, as it would be inappropriate to combine with his new position at Wigan.

Andrea Dobson has been a leading figure in the rapid development of Women’s and Girls Rugby League over the last two decades, since making her international debut as a 16-year-old for Great Britain in 2003.

She was therefore a well-established international when the national Women’s team played as England for the first time in 2007, and she was awarded Heritage Number 8.

She went on to win a total of 30 caps for England and Great Britain, then a record, in an international career spanning 16 years, and including four World Cups – the last of them, in Australia in 2017, as captain.

She also excelled at club level, mostly for Featherstone Rovers, and is the only woman on the club’s Legends Wall at the Millennium Stadium on Post Office Road.

She continues to play a key role in the growth of the Women’s and Girls game as the Rugby League Development Officer for Sheffield. Since her appointment in 2021, Sheffield Eagles have transformed their impact on South Yorkshire, launching Women’s, Wheelchair, Learning Disability and Physical Disability teams.

Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “We were delighted to confirm to the Rugby League Council that Professor Chris Brookes and Andrea Dobson have been added to the Roll of Honour.

“Andrea becomes the 12th woman on the Roll of Honour, a recognition of the inspirational role she played on the field for club and country in the development of the Women’s and Girls game, and also the contribution she continues to make through her position at Sheffield.

“Chris is held in huge respect by hundreds or probably thousands of players, coaches and officials with whom he has worked so closely over the last three decades. I am one of that number, having appreciated his leading contribution to the Brain Health Sub-Committee formed earlier this year to continue the sport’s response to developments in medical and scientific knowledge.

“This is also an appropriate opportunity to pay tribute to the work he has done as the RFL’s Chief Medical Officer, such an important position in the sport, as he steps down having taken on fresh challenges and responsibility at Wigan.

“I know he is excited by those challenges, and as with Andrea Dobson, I’m delighted that these two worthy additions to the Roll of Honour will continue to contribute to the sport.

“They follow Squadron Leader Damian Clayton MBE RAF, who was this year’s previous addition to the Roll of Honour on the eve of the Betfred Challenge Cup weekend given his key role in the sport’s Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London.”

Sutton also thanked Sue Taylor MBE for her work as Vice President of the RFL, as she stands down after 18 months in the position.

“Sue Taylor has been outstanding in the role of Vice President, initially with Clare Balding CBE as RFL President and this year with Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP. Her love for the sport is matched by her knowledge of it – as is shown by the fact that she was added to the Roll of Honour last year.”

Sue Taylor is succeeded as RFL Vice President by Trevor Hunt, the BBC Radio Manchester commentator who is another stalwart of Community Rugby League as Chair of the National Conference League.

It has already been confirmed, at the RFL’s Annual General Meeting in the summer, that Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP will serve a second year as President in 2024.

Thursday 14 December 2023