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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

Rhinos aim for record-breaking start to new season

1st November 2017 | 8:00 am

By Phil Daly

Betfred Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos are looking to attract a record-breaking attendance for their opening home game of the new season when they take on newly promoted Hull KR at Elland Road on Thursday 8th February, kick off 7.45pm.

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Betfred Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos are looking to attract a record-breaking attendance for their opening home game of the new season when they take on newly promoted Hull KR at Elland Road on Thursday 8th February, kick off 7.45pm.

The game will see Rhinos legend Danny McGuire return to his home city with his new side in the second round of the new competition with the Rhinos looking to set a new attendance record for a ‘home’ Super League game beating the 23,035 at Headingley back in 2003 against Bradford Bulls. Leeds and Hull KR famously met in the 1986 Challenge Cup semi-final at Elland Road when Rovers made it to Wembley following a replay when the original tie was drawn 24-24.

The Rhinos will also return to Elland Road on Friday 23rd March for the Grand Final re-match against neighbours Castleford Tigers in round seven. The match comes 30 years since the two sides met in a memorable Yorkshire Cup Final in 1988 and 2018 also marks the 80thanniversary of the all-Leeds Championship Final at Elland Road when Hunslet beat Leeds 8-2. With no domestic football that weekend due to international games, this will be a fantastic opportunity to create a huge occasion for the sport of Rugby League.

Leeds Rhinos memberships include this game and members will receive an exclusive special offer for both games to bring along friends and family to enjoy the big occasions and help spread the word about the Rhinos. Junior tickets for both games will start from just £5. More details for ticket and hospitality opportunities will be released shortly.

The Rhinos will kick off their season at Warrington Wolves on Thursday 1st February before the clash with the Robins a week later. The Rhinos first game at Emerald Headingley Stadium will be on Friday 2nd March against Catalans Dragons.

Leeds played World Club Challenge games at Elland Road in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 but have not returned in recent times. However, since the ownership of the stadium came back under control of Leeds United last summer, both organisations have been developing a closer working relationship on and off the field.

The Old Peacock Ground has been Leeds United’s home since 1919 and in June 2017 the stadium returned to the club for the first time since it was sold in 2004, during a period of financial difficulty.

Commenting on the announcement Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “We are delighted to be able to announce these two showcase events for Leeds Rhinos and Rugby League at Elland Road. Under the leadership of Chairman Andrea Radrizzani we have been able to work closely with Leeds United on projects that will benefit both clubs but most importantly benefit our home city here in Leeds. This is a win-win situation for both clubs. As owners of Elland Road, Leeds United know, as we do ourselves, how it is important to generate income from the stadium by hosting a variety of events and we will be hoping to bring large numbers to both these games.

“For ourselves, we recognise that we have a duty to try and expand the game of Rugby League by creating bigger events for our own supporters and the wider public to enjoy. Whilst centrally, the game has grown events such as the Magic Weekend and Grand Final, it is important that the club’s play their part as we have seen in the Rugby Union Premiership over the last decade. That is why we are developing Emerald Headingley Stadium with a £40m project and why we have been working so hard to keep the World Club Challenge as an active part of our competition. These two games at Elland Road will be fantastic occasions and our aim is to break the Super League regular season attendance record with these events. Because of the redevelopment work at our home this season, it limits our ability to reach out to new supporters and these games are a perfect opportunity to do just that through our work in the community with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.

“I am sure Danny McGuire will get a tremendous reception on his return to the city for the Hull KR clash and our first meeting of next season against Castleford will be eagerly anticipated. The reaction the players received at the recent home game against Reading was fantastic to see and I am confident there will be plenty of people keen to see them in action. By moving these games to Elland Road, we will also be able to offer extra capacity to Hull KR and Castleford fans, who traditionally travel in large numbers for their games against the Rhinos.

“I would like to thank Paul Bell and his staff at Leeds United for their help over recent weeks and we are looking forward to building towards the Hull KR game over the coming months,” added Gary Hetherington.

The fixture list in full is:

1 Thursday, Feb 1 (Sky) Warrington Wolves Halliwell Jones Stadium Away 7.45pm
2 Thursday, Feb 8 (Sky) Hull Kingston Rovers Elland Road Home 7.45pm
3 Sunday, Feb 25 Widnes Vikings Halton Stadium Away 3pm
4 Friday, Mar 2 Catalans Dragons Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
5 Thursday, Mar 8 (Sky) Hull FC Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 7.45pm
6 Friday, Mar 16 (Sky) St Helens Totally Wicked Stadium Away 7.45pm
7 Friday, Mar 23 (Sky) Castleford Tigers Elland Road Home 7.45pm
8 Friday, Mar 30 Huddersfield Giants John Smiths Stadium Away TBC
9 Monday, Apr 2 Salford Red Devils Emerald Headingley Stadium Home TBC
10 Sunday, Apr 8 Wakefield Trinity Beaumont Legal Stadium Away 3pm
11 Friday, Apr 13 (Sky) Wigan Warriors Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 7.45pm
12 Thursday, Apr 19 (Sky) Hull FC KCOM Stadium Away 7.45pm
13 Sunday, Apr 29 Hull Kingston Rovers KCOM Craven Park Away 3pm
14 Friday, May 4 Warrington Wolves Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
CC6 W/e, May 13
15 Saturday, May 19 (Sky) Castleford Tigers St James Park Away 7.30pm
16 Saturday, May 26 Catalans Dragons Stade Gilbert Brutus Away 6pm
CCQF W/e, June 3
17 Friday, Jun 8 Huddersfield Giants Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
18 Friday, Jun 15 St Helens Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
19 Thursday, Jun 28 (Sky) Wigan Warriors DW Stadium Away 7.45pm
20 Sunday, July 8 Castleford Tigers Mend-A-Hose Stadium Away 3.30pm
21 Friday, Jul 13 Wakefield Trinity Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
22 Friday, Jul 20 Widnes Vikings Emerald Headingley Stadium Home 8pm
23 Friday, Jul 27 Salford Red Devils AJ Bell Stadium Away 8pm
CCSF W/e, August 5
Super 8s 1 W/e, August 12
Super 8s 2 W/e, August 19
CCF Saturday, August 25 (BBC)
Super 8s 3 W/e, September 2
Super 8s 4 W/e, September 9
Super 8s 5 W/e, September 16
Super 8s 6 W/e, September 23
Super 8s 7 W/e, September 30
Super 8s SF Thursday/Friday, Oct 4/5 (Sky)
Grand Final Saturday, October 13 (Sky) 6pm