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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

Rugby and football come together to celebrate legend Atkinson

6th February 2018 | 5:03 pm

By Phil Daly

Leeds Rhinos will play their first game back in the city of Leeds on Thursday night since the passing of Leeds Rugby League legend John Atkinson before Christmas and there will be a special tribute to the Great Britain ace at Elland Road before the Rhinos take on Hull KR.

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Leeds Rhinos will play their first game back in the city of Leeds on Thursday night since the passing of Leeds Rugby League legend John Atkinson before Christmas and there will be a special tribute to the Great Britain ace at Elland Road before the Rhinos take on Hull KR.

An Ashes and World Cup winner with Great Britain, Atkinson made 518 appearances for Leeds in a 16 year career that saw him play in 20 major Finals for the club including three Challenge Cup Final glories and two Championship winning sides. He scored 340 tries and is still second in the all time list of try scorers for the club.

Blue & Amber, the official matchday programme, is a special edition dedicated to John Atkinson’s career with memories of his career including a feature on his top ten greatest ever tries in addition to recollections from his friends, team mates, family and supporters who watched him grace the Headingley turf in a golden era for the club. The programme is available for sellers around the ground on the night at Elland Road.

Before kick off, both Leeds and Hull KR fans will be asked to join the teams in a minutes applause to celebrate John’s career during which John’s 12 year old grandson Oscar McInnis will bring the match ball onto the pitch escorted by John’s lifelong friend and team mate Alan Smith along with Leeds United legend Eddie Gray, himself a friend of John’s since their playing days in the city. During the applause, footage of John racing away for some of his trademark tries will appear on the big screen as we remember a true legend of our club and the game of Rugby League.

John Atkinson RIP

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