Gibson has a foot in both camps on Sunday night

Former Leeds Rhinos and North Queensland Cowboys star Damian Gibson admits Sunday’s game will be a ‘win, win situation’, whatever the outcome.

Gibson, who scored North Queensland’s first-ever try back in 1995, spent two years with the club ahead of a switch to Leeds in 1997, where he became a fans’ favourite, picking up the Player of the Year award in his only season with the Rhinos, before going on to captain Wales, alongside spells with the likes of Halifax, Salford and Castleford.

Gibson, a versatile back, retired from playing in 2009 and was part of Leeds’ coaching staff in their 2011 Grand Final-winning season after coaching the club’s under 18s and under 20s sides.

Writing for therhinos.co.uk, he said: “It should be a big occasion for both teams.

In the past, the Aussies have perhaps not put as much into the game, but it’s massive for them now.

I’ve been speaking to a couple of the boys from the Cowboys and they’re really pumped up for it.

They’ve come such a long way in 20 years and they’re a club I hold close to my heart.

I was there right at the start and scored their first ever try. I was only 19 when I made my debut, but I absolutely loved my time there and I absolutely love the club.

They’ve gone from strength to strength over the last few years and, back then, I could never have imagined they’d achieve what they’ve managed to do in such a short space of time.

They’ve done a fantastic job to get so far in such a tough competition like the NRL.

I have a lot of good memories from my time at Leeds too.

From playing at night because it’s too hot in North Queensland, to the freezing cold of England was interesting! But I really enjoyed it.

When I arrived in England, I got picked up from Manchester Airport and was taken straight to a training session. That was a bit of a culture shock, but I still live over here now so it can’t have been that bad!

The only regret I have from being at Leeds is that I didn’t have more time there.

I’ve been coaching at Dewsbury Rams for the last couple of years but I left there last year and launched a Personal Training business in Halifax, where I live now, and I’ll be going along to the game on Sunday as a fan.

I’ve got a lot of friends at both clubs. I know a lot of the Leeds players from my time there as a coach, so it’s almost a win-win situation for me.

It was incredible what Leeds achieved last season.

I think it will be a close game, maybe the Cowboys might be a bit shocked by the weather early on but they’ll soon settle into it.

Both sides have had changes to their roster during the off season, so it should be interesting to see how it goes.

Leeds obviously had a tough result at the weekend but they’ll be much better this week.

Either way, I’m really excited for the game and I can’t wait to see what two of the best clubs in the world can produce.”