Steve Price gets surprise nod in NZ - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Steve Price gets surprise nod in NZ

By Will Knight 31/12/2010 02:23:36 PM Comments (0)

He's often labelled the most popular Australian in New Zealand, and now Steve Price has the gong to prove it.

Former Australian rugby league Test prop Price, 36, was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the country's New Year's Honours.

Recognised for services to rugby league in New Zealand after playing 91 NRL matches for the Auckland-based Warriors and becoming the club's longest-serving captain, proud Queenslander Price was initially unsure whether he was eligible.

"I didn't know whether I was allowed to accept it," said Price, who represented Australia in 15 Tests and played 28 State of Origin matches for the Maroons.

"I actually said to the lady, 'You know, don't you, that I'm Australian?"

Price joked that being regarded as New Zealand's favourite Australian was almost a back-handed compliment.

"You don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing," he told The New Zealand Herald.

"They say, 'you're our favourite but we don't like Aussies'.

"It is truly humbling for a Kiwi to nominate me for such an honour, for an Australian to be recognised in New Zealand in this way.

"From the moment we arrived in Auckland, we've loved living in New Zealand."

Price retired during the 2010 NRL season after playing 313 NRL games for the Bulldogs and Warriors, and he and his family have remained settled in New Zealand.

Legendary golfer Sir Bob Charles led the sporting honours, being appointed to the Order of New Zealand - a distinction restricted to only 20 living New Zealanders.

Charles, 74, became the first left-hander to win one of golf's major tournaments when he won the 1963 British Open after a 36-hole playoff with American Phil Rodgers and finished his career with 66 tournament victories.

He was knighted for services to golf in 1999 and has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Ricki Herbert and Ryan Nelsen, the coach and captain of the All Whites, unbeaten at this year's World Cup in South Africa, were also recognised in the honours list.

Herbert was made a companion of the Order of New Zealand with Nelsen one step below as an officer of the Order of New Zealand.

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