THIS week saw the disappointing but not unexpected omission of NRL Grand Final winner Sam Burgess from the list of BBC Sports Personality of the Year candidates.

The riposte coming back from most league fans being that had he already been a union player when he played the whole of that landmark game with a fractured cheek then he would have made it to the short list.

Well, we’ll soon find out on that score given that Burgess has joined the 15-man code in Bath.

League has a major problem in getting recognition for its stars. Admittedly no such problem arises when the media want to highlight our rogues – but that leads us on to another argument.

RL’s problem is that its heartlands stretch across a very narrow geographical belt - one made worse by the fact that the game had little profile in the two major cities – Liverpool and Manchester – within that.

We have to get more people playing this game – and stop this ridiculous celebration that rears its head when another rugby league development outpost flounders.

If developing the game across Britain is a big challenge – then the global task is even more monumental.

Every week I get press releases from Phil Caplan informing of rugby league developments. The past fortnight has seen Belgium, Spain, Ukraine, Sierra Leone and Ethiopa covered.

That is remarkable news.

I realise these will be very much fledgling operations, but from little acorns… Sometimes I think we miss a trick to help grow our game both domestically and globally.

Given that St Helens, Warrington and Wigan – among others – have seen a significant growth in workers from Eastern Europe I do wonder if anything has ever been done to attract them to league.

I appreciate that this will be a hard sell given that Widnes, for example, can’t even convince the significant Liverpudlian population that has settled within its borders to give league a try.

But for me we have living and working among us a significant group of young people who are probably open to a new sports challenge.

Would it do any harm to throw out a few bi-lingual leaflets, gauge some interest about playing – or encourage their children to play – and maybe throw an invitation out to attend a game?

You never know what we might uncover – after all legendary players Vince Karalius and Gus Risman both came from Lithuanian stock.