Delaney set to join elite group of overseas players
Brian McDermott and Brett Delaney of Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos star Brett Delaney is set to join an elite group of overseas players to have donned the famous blue and amber shirt when the Rhinos travel to Widnes this Sunday.
Delaney will become only the 10th overseas player ever to have made 200 appearances for the club and join his contemporaries Ali Lauitiiti and Kylie Leuluai in the elite group that contains some of the greatest talents who have ever played for the Leeds club since our first ever overseas players 110 years ago when Joseph Lavery and Harold Rowe signed at Headingley following the New Zealand All Golds tour in 1908.
Here we take a look back at the previous nine:
There is unlikely to ever be a better winger in the history of the Leeds club than Eric Harris, the ‘Toowoomba Ghost’. Statistics alone tell the story, with a staggering 391 touchdowns in only 383 appearances in the nine years from 1930-39 including a seasonal zenith of 63 in 1935-6. Brought to Leeds as a teenager by centre Jeff Moores, he thrilled the Headingley faithful with a two try debut at Featherstone and went on to leave a trail of floundering opponents throughout the north of England as Leeds became the dominant force in the game. A try scorer at Wembley in 1936 outside namesake Fred with whom he had an instinctive understanding, he became the hero of his generation. Electric but imperceptible acceleration and an ability to glide around players who seemingly had him in their clutches made him one of the most dangerous players of his day. A teacher at the new Carneige College in Leeds, he married a local girl but was forced back home as war clouds loomed although he remained an ardent fan of the club from his home in Brisbane. He was never a loser in seven finals and is still the joint club record holder with eight tries in a match against Bradford. His sequence of 36 touchdowns in 17 consecutive matches remains a rugby league record.
New Zealand born prop Kylie Leuluai played a massive part in the Rhinos success after joining the club in 2007 and won six Grand Finals, two World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups in that time to make him the most successful overseas player in the club’s history.
Kylie joined the Rhinos in 2007 and finished the season by winning the first of his six Grand Final and started his remarkable run of never losing a Grand Final. His final game for the club came in the Grand Final in 2015 as the Rhinos completed a historic treble.
He played his junior rugby in New Zealand with Papatoetoe Panthers, before joining Balmain where he made his first grade debut in 1999. From here he enjoyed two seasons with Wests Tigers, before joining Sydney Roosters in 2002.
In 2003 he signed for Parramatta. After one season with the Eels he signed for Manly Sea Eagles
He has represented New Zealand at U19 level and the New Zealand Maoris in the 2000 World Cup. In 2012 he also was selected to play for the Exiles in the Origin game against England.
The first Australian superstar to sign for Leeds was three quarter Dinny Campbell. He arrived in the late summer of 1912 and stayed for nine remarkable seasons and justified the £350 and £2 per match fee they paid for the Penrith-born star. During his time at the club, the side were never lower than fourth in the league and his total of 136 tries set a new club record that stood for nearly twenty years until the arrival of his compatriot Eric Harris. Although denied a winners medal during his time at the club, he played in two finals, unfortunately for him they were both against the all-conquering Huddersfield Team of All Talents and he lost out in the 1915 Championship Final and the 1919 Yorkshire Cup Final.
His finest hour came in his final season when he scored what was reputed as the finest try Headingley had ever seen when he beat the entire Wigan team on a mesmerising 75-yard run to the line for the clinching score.
Centre Frank O’Rourke joined Leeds in 1927 from the University club in Sydney and scored a hugely impressive 122 tries in 240 appearances in blue and amber between 1927 and 1933. His arrival, along with countryman Jeff Moores signalled the end of a 23-year long ban on overseas signings and both served the club with distinction.
In his six seasons at the club, Leeds won the Yorkshire Cup three times, the Challenge Cup as well as finishing as runners up in two Championship Finals. He left the club in 1933 to take up an educational appointment in Australia but he never forgot his affection for the Headingley club and, nineteen years after his final game, he was responsible for Leeds signing another great Australian centre, Keith McLellan, just as Dinny Campbell had recommended him and Jeff Moores to the club on his return to Australia.
From the moment he arrived in February 1947 as an already established Australian Test star, Arthur Clues was destined to become a legend at Headingley. He thrilled a legion of followers and quickly became the hero to a generation of post war rugby fans, brightening up the austere times.
A combination of awesome power, lithe sidestep, tremendous acceleration, majestic kicking and a mean streak quickly endeared him to the Leeds faithful. A heart that matched his frame, he cared passionately about his teammates and his combative spirit made him a feared foe.
Scorer of virtually a point a game in his 236 appearances for Leeds, he enjoyed seven glorious years at Headingley before moving across the city to give sterling service to Hunslet and produced some awe inspiring displays for the ‘Other Nationalities’.
One of the finest sporting ambassadors the club has ever had, his fifty year association as player and then emissary marked out a unique and special bond.
The 1957 Challenge Cup winning skipper, Keith McLellan originally arrived at Headingley in the New Year of 1951 having turned professional with Leeds after being spotted playing Rugby Union for Eastern Suburbs in Sydney.
Recommended by compatriot star with Leeds in the late 1920s and his teacher, Frank O’Rourke, the first fans knew of their impending new arrival was when it was reported on the London wires that the Lioners had signed the Eastern Suburbs rugby union player to a ‘life contract’ for a princely £4,000.
He made a try scoring debut in a surprise home defeat to Doncaster in mid-January ’52 but subsequently cemented his reputation as a no-nonsense, unyielding defender.
He suffered a broken jaw in the 1952-53 pre-season Lazenby Cup match which took two months to heal, returning just before Leeds signed Lewis Jones to partner him in the middle and the pair acted as the perfect foil, McLellan the defensive, driving force to the Welshman’s laid-back grace and finesse.
Fiercely determined in all aspects of his life, he was seen as ideal captain’s material in an improving side, earning a cap for the Combined Nationalities who lost 19-15 against France in January 1954.
He had also scored one of the tries as Leeds memorably beat the Australian tourists in October 1956, their only post-War success against the Kangaroos, in front of over 25,000 fans. His contract finished in December 1958 and his Leeds career ended in prolific fashion, with three tries in consecutive games, finishing in total with 217 points from 215 appearances including a long-range goal, one of five in blue and amber, against the 1955 Kiwis. He also played for an English League XIII in a 19-8 win over France at Headingley in April 1958.
Before the term pin-up was invented, Jeff Moores was one. Confident, dapper and gifted he arrived at Headingley in September 1927 as reputedly, ‘the best stand off in Australia’ and within a few months had been elected captain despite being only 22. Magnificent on defence and majestic on attack he was a key figure in the Leeds teams of the early thirties that dominated the game. In 1930 he moved into the centre with equal distinction and brought with him from Queensland a certain Eric Harris to play outside him, the two forming a legendary partnership of master and pupil which culminated in the epic Challenge Cup Final win against Swinton in 1932.
Little Bert Cook was a legend amongst Leeds fans of an older generation for his superb full-back and goalkicking feats performed between 1947 and 1953.
Reputed to have the smallest pair of feet seen in Rugby League (size 4), Cook made his debut for Leeds, at Headingley against York, kicking four goals in a 26-7 win in January 1947. In his first season, he played a huge part in helping Leeds to qualify for the second post-war Cup Final.
Few people will forget the goal Bert kicked in a third round tie at Central Park, Wigan in March 1947. With the pitch resembling a quagmire, he scooped a morass of mud together and proceeded to land an incredible 50 yard goal.
His only Wembley appearance ended in defeat at the hands of Bradford Northern, Bert landing two goals, and the following season a defeat in a re-played Yorkshire Cup Final earned him his second runners-up medal in English Rugby League.
His finest season came in 1950-51, when he shattered his own club goalkicking record. Having broken Joe Thompson’s 19 year old record of 112 in 1949-50, Bert took the record to 150 during 1950-51.
This gave him his second club goalkicking record, for in August 1949, he landed 12 goals in Leeds’ 63-3 victory over York, equalling the efforts of J. K. Potter and Ernest Pollard. This superb sportsman suffered the anguish of two successive Cup Semi-Final defeats in 1950 and 1951, and continued to serve Leeds impeccably until August 1953, when he accepted the coaching post at Keighley.
Ever popular Bert Cook kicked his final goal for Leeds at the Boulevard on 15th August, 1953. His final total for Leeds was 556 in 210 appearances, and, combined with his 19 tries, gave him a total of 1,169 points.
When Ali Lauitiiti arrived in Leeds in May 2004 few could have imagined the lasting impression that the New Zealand international would leave on the club when he finally moved on after eight glorious seasons at Headingley.
Lauitiiti had emerged as a player of incredible talent back in the NRL making his senior debut back in April 1998 for the New Zealand Warriors. Just two years later he was named in the New Zealand World Cup squad.
Lauitiiti made his Rhinos debut at home against Salford on 28th May 2004 and collected the first of his five Grand Final winners rings that year. He was a key part of the Rhinos team that won three Super League titles in a row between 2007 and 2009.
In 2011, it was announced that he would be leaving the club to join Wakefield Trinity Wildcats the following season and it looked as if destiny would deny him one last moment in the spotlight. He missed out on the 2010 and 2011 Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley and was not included in the Rhinos squad as they headed for an unlikely return to Old Trafford. However, fittingly his final and 200th game for the club came in the Grand Final as he returned to the side and played a key role in the success over Saints.
|Heritage number||First name||POB||Position||Debut opp||APP||SUB||TOTAL||TRIES||GOALS||D-G||PTS|
|512||Eric Harris||Toowoomba||Winger||Featherstone H 27th Sept 1930||383||0||383||391||16||0||1205|
|1363||Kylie Leuluai||Auckland||Prop||Salford A 11th Feb 2007||215||49||264||22||0||0||88|
|266||Dinny Campbell||Penrith||Centre||Keighley H 14th Sept 1912||258||0||258||136||3||0||414|
|490||Frank O’Rourke||Sydney||Centre||Bradford Northern H 10th Sept 1927||240||0||240||122||9||0||384|
|841||Arthur Clues||Sydney||Second Row||Hull H 1st Feb 1947||236||0||236||74||0||0||222|
|882||Keith McLennan||Sydney||Centre||Doncaster H 19th Jan 1952||215||0||215||69||5||0||217|
|489||Jeff Moores||Gympie||Centre||Bradford Northern H 10th Sept 1927||211||0||211||98||25||0||344|
|840||Bert E Cook||Wairoa||Full Back||York H 18th Jan 1947||210||0||210||19||556||0||1169|
|1347||Ali Lauitiiti||Auckland||Second Row||Salford H 28th May 2004||69||131||200||64||0||0||256|