1961 Championship semi final match highlights
Ahead of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Championship win, we look back to the semi final that year when Leeds were underdogs as they took on the all conquering St Helens side at Headingley.
Here club historian Ken Dalby recalls that day at Headingley in Volume Two of The Headingley Story.
Conceding only six league defeats in the season, the lowest in the club's history, Leeds finished at the head of the table for the first time, but the critics were loath to give credit: … 'an easy fixture programme' … 'Leeds are in a false position', They had to eat humble pie!
Certainly they could not deny Leeds the merit of a thrilling Semi-Final victory over St. Helens at Headingley, where every man played his part nobly, not least the two reserves, Vince Hattee and Eddie 'Vollenhoven shall not pass' Ratcliffe. We took the initiative from the start, Lewis Jones kicking a goal after only three minutes, and Rosenberg diving over four minutes later to register his 43rd try of the season, a post-war club record. St. Helens, however, gathered themselves, countering a smart try by Hattee with two goals from Rhodes, and the second half found Leeds penned in their own quarters, grimly hanging on to an 8-4 lead. Bravely as the forwards tried to break out, St. Helens maintained a vice-like grip, and centre Donovan went over in the corner, only for the try to be disallowed. And still the siege went on. At Headingley, in 1938, in similar circumstances, Eric Harris, the Toowoomba ghost, had stolen a pass and thwarted Swinton's championship hopes with a memorable try. Now it was Rosenberg's moment of glory!
The breakout was sudden: slick passing between Simms, Evans and Hallas put Rosenberg in possession forty yards out. Sullivan turned from challenging Hallas to find his quarry beyond pursuit; the covering Watson dived in vain; full-back Rhodes had Rosenberg just where he wanted him. on the touchline, but going for a push rather than an all-out tackle, missed him completely, as Rosenberg slipped through the eye of the proverbial needle to score a try which will always be treasured in Headingley's rich storehouse of memories.
Unfortunately the footage of the Final at Odsal a fortnight later has been lost over time however we are pleased to bring you the action from the semi final so a new generation can see the stars of 1961 in action again.
Remember you can order your copy of this Friday's limited edition copy of Blue & Amber now, complete with a replica 1961 Championship Final programme for just £3. Click here now to order yours or pick one up at Friday's game.