Carl Ablett factfile
The club have confirmed that former England international Carl Ablett will retire at the end of the current season so we took a look back at his incredible career.
CHAMPION FROM THE START
From his earliest days at the Rhinos, Carl was destined to be a Champion as he helped the club’s Academy team win the the Rhinos defeated St Helens 28-24 in the Academy Grand Final at Headingley in 2003.
The Rhinos took an early lead in the third minute when David Doherty slotted over a penalty from 35 metres out however Saints came straight back and a try each for their second rowers, Rob Lunt and captain lan Kenney gave them a 12-2 lead after 12 minutes.
The Rhinos then had to roll their sleeves up and they came out fighting scoring 18 points in a ten minute spell.
The ever excellent Carl Ablett created the first for second row Jason Golden before Golden touched down his second effort when Scott Murrell ignored a penalty in front of the posts to take a quick tap.
Leading try scorer Lee Smith was next on the score sheet, brilliantly catching and then touching down in the same movement and inch perfect kick by loose forward Ablett to give the Rhinos a 18-12 lead.
Saints got a penalty just before half time and then had two tries disallowed either side of half time.
On the 45th minute mark Ablett was sin binned for back chat after he had been penalised for trying to get up from a tackle and that took a toll on Leeds. Saints looked to have turned the game when first Forber kicked a penalty and then Rob Lunt scored his second and third try to give the men from Knowsley Road a 24-18 lead with ten minutes remaining.
However, Saints captain lan Kenney was then sinbinned for back chat to the touch judge and that gave the Rhinos the opportunity they were looking for. Golden completed his hat trick on 73 minutes and a confident conversion by Doherty tied the game at 24-all.
Then with three minutes remaining Lee Smith was on hand again to capitalise on a good pass from centre Calvin Watson to touch down in the corner. Doherty could not convert to make the closing minutes a tense affair but the Rhinos held on to become Champions.
ENGLAND HISTORY MAKER
In 2004, Carl was part of the England Academy side who made history with the country’s first ever victory over the Australian Schoolboys in Australia. The England Academy squad included eight Leeds Rhinos players with Ablett, John Gallagher, David Doherty and Lee Smith among their scorers ended the Australian Schoolboys’ one hundred per cent record on home soil. The ‘Joeys’ had Greg Inglis in their ranks but went down 33-24.
England also defeated the Junior Kiwis on the tour on a record breaking trip with all three teams including players who would go on to full international honours.
Joshua Davis, Sonny Fa’i, Marvin Filipo, Robinson Godfrey, Marvin Karawana, Dion Leuila-Briggs, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Viliami Manu, Sam Moa, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Joseph Parekura, Duan Poaneki, Sam Rapira, Iosia Soliola, Samuel Tagataese, John Te Reo, Manu Vatuvei, Mataika Vatuvei
Carl Ablett, David Allen, Chris Ashton, Andy Bracek, Matthew Cook, James Coyle, David Doherty, Brett Ferres, John Gallagher, Ashley Gibson, Jason Golden, James Graham (c), Simon Grix, Harrison Hansen, Craig Huby, Scott Murrell, Steven Pickersgill, Paul Prescott, Lee Smith, Luke Stenchion, Joel Tomkins, Danny Williams, Desi Williams
Nathan Armit, Daniel Backo, Michael Bond, Michael Dobson, Blake Green, Greg Inglis, Luke Jay, Cy Lasscock, Michael Lett, Rhys Lovegrove, Steven McLean, Steven Michaels, Peewee Moke, Junior Moors, Jarrod Mullen, Joel Rapana, Kade Snowden, Frank Winterstein
GRAND FINAL GLORY
Going into the 2007 season, Carl had only made seven appearances as a replacement for the Rhinos over a three year period and he faced big season for the young man.
A hand injury to Nick Scruton against Salford in early August gave Carl a chance to earn a spot in the team and he never looked back, playing in the remaining seven games of the season including his first Grand Final. He only featured for six minutes in the second half but he had secured the first of his Grand Final winners’ rings.
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
Such was the impact Carl Ablett had at centre in 2008 that the back rower made the position his own and won a Grand Final there following the departure of New Zealand international Clinton Toopi.
Earlier in the season, Ablett had won his first World Club Challenge title against Melbourne Storm at Elland Road. In that game Toopi dislocated his shoulder giving Ablett his first shot at centre and when Toopi suffered a knee injury in the Challenge Cup semi final later in the year, Ablett once against stepped into the breach with great effect.
DEFYING THE ODDS FOR GRAND FINAL FIVE
When Carl Ablett fractured his cheekbone in the final game of the regular season at Huddersfield in 2011, it looked like his season was over.
However, scans showed that a few weeks out and a protective headguard could make it possible for him to play again at Old Trafford. Not only did he play but Ablett was instrumental in the Rhinos win, coming up with a crucial try as Leeds once against defeated Saints 32-16. The try meant Ablett had scored at Wembley and Old Trafford in the same season having touched down in the defeat to Wigan in the Challenge Cup Final.
His performance earned Ablett a call up to the England squad for the Four Nations and meant he had to miss his own stag do in Las Vegas!
ANOTHER GRAND FINAL TRY SEES OFF WOLVES
Ablett was back at Old Trafford in 2012 as the Rhinos once again defied the odds to retain their title having finished in fifth in the regular season.
Leeds faced an in form Wakefield side in the first elimination game at Headingley before travelling to France to play Catalans a week later when Ablett crossed for a crucial try in the 27-22 win.
The following week Leeds won at Wigan and then gained revenge for their defeat to Warrington at Wembley with victory at Old Trafford. His quick thinking set up a try for skipper Kevin Sinfield in the first half before a crucial try on the hour mark took his side back in front at 20-18 and they never looked back. He ran skipper Kevin Sinfield close for the Harry Sunderland Award with an outstanding performance for his side.
2014 CAMPAIGN EARNS DREAM TEAM SELECTION
In 2014, Leeds Rhinos long wait for Challenge Cup glory ended at Wembley as the Rhinos defeated Castleford 23-10 to lift the famous trophy.
It was also an outstanding season for Ablett as he named in the Super League Dream team for the first time having made 28 appearances throughout the campaign.
MR CONSISTENT HELPS RHINOS TO TREBLE GLORY
When asked what his favourite memory of his time at the club was, Carl Ablett picked out the 2015 Treble winning season. It was perhaps unsurprising when you remember that Ablett was there for every single step of the journey as the only ever present that season and playing in all 36 games of a remarkable campaign.
RECORD BREAKING SEVENTH HEAVEN FOR CARL
Carl Ablett became the first player ever to play and win seven Grand Finals with the Rhinos victory over Castleford at Old Trafford in 2017. His experience proved vital as he helped secure another against the odds victory for his team.