DFP – Head Script

Leeds Players Association Lunch Has Record Attendance

16th November 2015 | 12:00 am

By Leeds Rhinos

A record number of 370 people were in attendance for the annual Leeds player’s lunch, held in the Long Bar at Headingley Carnegie stadium.

WP – In Article MPU

A record number of 370 people were in attendance for the annual Leeds player’s lunch, held in the Long Bar at Headingley Carnegie stadium.

The focus of the event was to bring together as many as possible of the Leeds players who have won the Challenge Cup, with Lewis Jones and George Broughton from the 1957 Wembley triumph against Barrow, joining winners from 1968, 1977, 1978, 1999 and members of the current squad – including Kylie Leuluai, Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire along with coach Brian McDermott – who are back-to-back holders.

In a unique gathering, 27 of the winners had their picture taken with the trophy on the pitch by way of commemoration. Click here to see the photo on our official Facebook page. 

The event, which also included ex-player delegations from Hunslet, Bramley, Featherstone, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Leigh, Hull, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wigan, Widnes, St Helens and Bradford, saw a group of Leeds greats receive framed certificates of their heritage numbers.

The list of 1,491 players to date who have donned the famous blue and amber was researched by the Leeds Rugby Foundation Heritage Group and the guest of honour at the lunch was Syd Hynes, who was flown in by the player’s association from Perth, Australia, who is number 1,000.

Syd, who won every medal for the Loiners and was part of the last successful Great Britain side to win the Ashes, down under in 1970, was also the club’s first-ever player/coach, taking them to the Wembley triumphs in the 1970s.

He was presented with his certificate by his former school teacher at Bewley School, Hunslet, Harry Jepson, the Leeds Rhinos president, the double-act enthralling the room with their reminiscences.

Hynes was also asked about his notorious sending off at Wembley in 1971 when he clashed with Alex Murphy to become the first player dismissed in the cup final, the shirt he wore on that day also in the room.

“If I had hit him, he would have stayed down,” said Hynes to raucous cheers. “It’s an absolute honour to be here,” he added, “the last time was four years ago and I was pretty poorly and didn’t think I’d be back.”

“To be the 1,000th player to play for Leeds is extra-special. My grandson in Australia, who is eight, is just realising that pop used to play a bit and this certificate will mean everything.”

The oldest player to receive theirs was Hunslet hall of famer, Alf ‘Ginger’ Burnell (786), who guested for Leeds at Featherstone in March 1945.

The Joe Warham Award for outstanding achievement went to recently retired Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield who, somewhat ironically, was making his debut for Yorkshire Carnegie on the pitch behind at the time, which was collected on his behalf by his close friend and team mate Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

Guest speaker was one of the ’99 Cup winners, Barrie McDermott, who had the room enthralled with and in uproar about his career tales on and now off the field, a donation being made to the Steve Prescott Foundation in lieu.

Monies raised from the lunch, which included an auction of rare memorabilia signed by the cup winners in the room, will be donated to the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.