Vicky Molyneux to receive RFL President’s Award 2024

Date published: 03 January 2024

Rochdale-born Vicky Molyneux will be the recipient of a President’s Award from president of the Rugby Football League, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP.

The Wigan Warriors forward, who called time on a distinguished international career last November, will be presented with the award at the RFL President’s Ball in Leeds on Saturday 13 January.

Vicky, a PE teacher at Matthew Moss High School, began playing rugby when she was 10, representing the Rochdale boys’ team. She joined Wigan Warriors in 2019 and has represented England at an international level on several occasions, and helped form a girls' rugby pathway at Rochdale Mayfield.

The President’s Award was introduced by the Rugby Football League in 2019 to recognise inspiring work to change lives and communities through rugby league, and achievements by players, coaches and volunteers which bring the sport to new audiences.

Andy Burnham presented the first award to Lindsay Anfield as a pioneer for women in coaching, and she has since been followed by five further winners, selected by Burnham’s successors as president – Tony Adams MBE and Clare Balding CBE.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, succeeded Clare Balding as RFL president at the 2023 President’s Ball, and accepted the invitation earlier this year to extend his term to a second year in 2024.

In informing Vicky Molyneux of her award, Sir Lindsay said: “This award is in recognition of a true trailblazer for Women’s Rugby League – which has been one of the sport’s greatest success stories over the last decade or so.

“You were one of a historic group who played in the first England international in 2007, holding heritage number 3.

“That would be impressive enough, but to have returned as a mother to the international set-up in recent years, including in last year’s World Cup, is a truly remarkable achievement – and will be an inspiration to future generations, as it has already been to your team-mates.

“The praise you rightly received when you confirmed your international retirement after the game against Wales in November was a clear indication of the respect in which you are held.

“I was delighted that the Wigan club recognised your special contribution by elevating you into their Hall of Fame, but I know your contribution to the sport reaches beyond Wigan, with the coaching and development you have done at the Rochdale Mayfield community club.

“Through all of this, you have been a superb ambassador for the sport of Rugby League as a whole, and for women’s and girls’ rugby league in particular.

“You join an exclusive and distinguished group to have received President’s Awards, as my predecessors Andy Burnham, Tony Adams and Clare Balding have previously recognised only six former winners – and you become only the second to receive the award while still playing, following in the footsteps of Reece Lyne in 2020.”

Of her award, Vicky said: “To receive this award is a huge honour and I would like to publicly thank Sir Lindsay Hoyle and the RFL for this accolade.

“Setting up the girls' pathway at Rochdale Mayfield ARLFC is one of my proudest achievements. We literally started with a handful of girls and now have two healthy league- and cup-winning sides. Deciding to retire from international rugby league was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I look back with such fond memories and I am grateful to have represented my country.

“The women’s game is rapidly developing and it’s exciting to see where it’s heading. This is the perfect time to take the plunge and get involved. I’m hoping that through my career I have demonstrated to all aspiring rugby league stars, boys and girls, that anything is possible if you dream big, work hard and stay humble.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me on and off the field. It’s those people who for me have made it all possible. Thank you.”

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