Farrell tops off year with OBE

Wigan and Great Britain skipper Andrew Farrell today received an OBE in the 2005 New Year?s Honours List.

The 29-year-old record-breaking forward becomes the fourth Rugby League player to receive an OBE following Malcolm Reilly (June 1991), Garry Schofield (June 1994) and former Wigan player Shaun Edwards (January 1996).

Farrell has enjoyed a fantastic year. During 2004 he won the prestigious Golden Boot and Man of Steel awards, gained selection in the Super League Dream Team, captained Great Britain to three consecutive wins in the Gillette Tri Nations, and played in the Powergen Challenge Cup Final at Millennium Stadium.

"It is a huge honour to receive this award and I am thrilled to be given such an accolade," said a delighted Farrell.

"I would like to thank all my team mates and coaching staff at club level and internationally who have all played an important part.

"?I?m made up. It?s a fantastic honour, especially to be associated with all those famous names who have received this honour in the game in the past."

Farrell, who has scored a remarkable total of 3,135 points during his 368 appearances for the Wigan club, believes the award is a sign of the growing health of Rugby League.

?I have never known as much interest in the game as far as the public are concerned," he said.

"Everybody was gripped by the Tri-Nations and they are still talking about it. The game has got to be on a high.

?You don?t play the game for individual honours but it?s very special even to be nominated for such an award.

?I believe that this Honour is recognition of the growing success for not only the Great Britain team but also the sport of Rugby League."

The RFL were the first to offer their congratulations to Farrell.

Richard Lewis, the Executive Chairman of the Rugby Football League, said: ?We?re delighted for Andrew, who is a wonderful ambassador for the sport of Rugby League, both on and off the field.

?Besides being a world-class player, Andrew conducts himself with great dignity and has proved to be an outstanding leader for both his club and the national side. He has earned considerable respect for the work that he undertakes for both his club and the sport behind the scenes.

?Andrew receiving the OBE is further recognition of the progress that Rugby League continues to make and reflects well on the whole sport.?