Arise Sir Graham Michael Lowe. After Sunday's disappointing Halifax result, it was uplifting to see Lowie receive a knighthood, announced in the Queens Birthday honours list in New Zealand the day after.

I’ve known Sir Graham and his wife Lady Karen, and their twin sons Jack and Sam, closely for over 16 years.

In fact, Lowie and I first met in New Zealand, when he came to Wellington as the head coach of the Manly Sea Eagles in 1991 in a game against the Lion Red national club champions Wainuiomata Lions.

What wonderful recognition for his tireless work in the areas of youth and education. His Lowie Foundation has delivered education and sport programmes to New Zealand’s disadvantaged youth for many years. A foundation I am honoured to serve as a trustee on.

Having seen first hand his 12 Dynamic Principles being adopted in education institutions, small and large corporations and even the government, this honour is a fitting salute to a remarkable man and his incredible work.

This latest accolade is especially significant as it recognises his contribution in education and not sport.

Of course Lowie's contribution in sport as a coaching guru saw him as the head coach for Wigan, North Queensland Cowboys, Manly Sea Eagles, Queensland and of course the Kiwis.

Lowie is the only New Zealander to have ever coached Queensland in the State of Origin let alone coached to a series victory in 1991 over New South Wales. No small feat, for which the Queensland Premier of the time declared Lowie an “Honorary Queenslander”.

I’ve been privileged to have spent countless hours talking with Lowie on his views and thoughts in the areas of education and sport.

His thinking has helped to develop the Bradford Bulls strategies and in the areas of community engagement, and both elite sport and education for the Bradford Bulls Academy and Bradford Bulls Foundation.

Lowie and I arrived in Bradford mid-January 2017, with the goal of building and beginning the process of recreating a team and club in the city - a process which unfortunately saw Lowie having to withdraw early during the first year due to his health challenges.

The demands of long-haul travel, and all the stresses and the enormity of this Bradford resurrection, meant that it wasn’t possible to continue as we had originally intended.

Despite this he has always remained a rock-solid supporter, guiding hand and friend to the Bradford Bulls.

Having headed back to Auckland this week for a flying visit, I’ve had the marvellous opportunity to catch up with him as we chatted about everything that’s happening at present.

At 72 years of age, I can’t see him slowing down. He’s got a bounce and spring in his step, as he talks about the progress he has made in the area of youth education.

In fact he’s en route to Palmerston North as I pen this column to present certificates for graduates of his revolutionary Kick for the Seagulls Programme.

“The Kick for the Seagulls is making good progress” he says in a matter of fact way. Wow what an understatement - it’s being implemented all over the place!

Lowie’s achievements are inspirational and he fondly talks about how he wanted the youth of this world to achieve more than he ever did at school.

I think it creates a clear picture of what legacy he has set about achieving in a remarkable way that only he could achieve. Well done again Lowie, and congratulations mate.

Talking about State of Origin rugby league, I watched game one where Queensland emerged victorious in a tough game at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Wednesday.

It reminded me of what a pinnacle Origin rugby league is in the southern hemisphere, as the Maroons came from behind to win 18-14.

Many talking points in a close brutal encounter, where the speed of the game and the physicality reaches another level, as the Australian National Rugby League surges forward in its pursuit of creating sport and entertainment nirvana.

I’m reminded of a classic Lowie-ism: “I’ve had a brain haemorrhage, and triple bypass and I could still go out and play a reasonable game of rugby union. But I wouldn’t last 30 seconds in rugby league."