On this Day – 18th June

On 18th June 1999, Leeds Rhinos produced one of their most impressive attacking displays in the Graham Murray era against Bradford Bulls at Headingley.

In front of the biggest then Super League crowd ever, 21,666, the Rhinos with pace, flair and desire registered an impressive victory over the current League table-toppers.

Henry Paul, aside, who played well for the visitors to grab two tries, and forgetting the error from Lee Jackson that gifted David Boyle a try, this was the most comprehensive victory over a top team seen at Headingley for a while.

Andy Hay caught the eye with a memorable hat trick, but even that was not enough to seal the Man of the Match award, which went to the evergreen Daryl Powell for his awesome contribution to the victory.
Hay , put in by Iestyn Harris went over for the first Leeds try to even the score.

With the Bulls looking strong Leeds did incredibly well to grab two more tries before the break and both were down to the astute play of Powell and two clever short passes.

Marc Glanville and Adrian Morley were the delighted recipients of Powell’s craft. The stand-off become the first Leeds player to kick a 40-20 this season and Powell himself helped the Rhinos go in at the break with a comfortable lead grabbing a one pointer to make it 19-6.

The Bulls started brightly after the break but again it was the Rhinos who got on the score sheet first. Hay for his second try managed to break through three tackles to put the ball over the line. The Leeds crowd were jubilant at this stage and they played a part in the victory reducing the Bradford roar to a whimper.

The vociferous support gave the team all the assistance they needed for a magic ten minute spell of attacking football that culminated in a Leroy Rivett try in the corner, after great work from Marvin Golden to keep the ball in play.

The Bulls never gave up and came back with a couple of tries, but the last laugh belonged to the Rhinos. Andy Hay for his third of the night broke through a tackle in his own half and proceeded to run the length of the pitch out-sprinting the Bulls cover for the second three try haul of his career.

Just before the end insult was added to injury, when Paul Sterling athletically got on the end of a chip kick forward to cross in the corner.
Graham Murray was beaming from ear to ear in the press conference and rightly so.

Those lucky enough to be at Headingley saw the Rhinos arguably produce the best display of the Graham Murray’s era.

In 2000, Leeds recorded their biggest away win against St Helens in 2000 as Dean Lance’s side pushed for the top four. Captain Iestyn Harris and winger Karl Pratt both crossed twice at Knowsley Road, while Keith Senior, Francis Cummins and Andy Hay also recorded tries.

On this day in 2005 the Rhinos claimed a famous victory over Wigan, leaving Warriors coach Ian Millward with a sense of deja vu for Ian Millward as Leeds won 70-0 against his team for the second season running.

The win was the Rhinos’ biggest ever over Wigan and was also Wigan’s biggest ever defeat eclipsing the 58-3 beating also handed out at Headingley back in October 1972.

In 2012, Leeds defeated Wakefield Trinity at Headingley in Super League in a dramatic high scoring game.

A hat trick from Ben Jones-Bishop including a 97 metre dash were the highlights.

The Rhinos included all ten players who had been involved on international duty 48 hours earlier whilst Wakefield had no players in their squad who had seen action at the weekend.

On this day in 1934, former Leeds winger Wilf Rosenberg was born in Cape Town, but barely out of rompers before his parents emigrated to Australia, Wilf Rosenberg certainly didn’t suffer on that account, the grounding given at Sydney Grammar School bearing rich fruit at Johannesburg’s Jeppe High School when the family returned to South Africa in 1948. Indeed, by the time he was in his late teens the world of opportunity had become his oyster.

Maturing into a centre of pace and penetration with the Transvaal Under 19 side, he graduated to the Province’s Senior XV in 1953, and within a year was being pencilled in as an international prospect of exceptional merit. Nor did he fluff his chance when it came, selection for three Tests against the 1955 British Lions being followed by the Springbok tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1956, and the 2nd Test versus France in 1958, by which time he was happily reading Medicine at Wits University, and would possibly never even have considered a professional rugby career, had it not been for Van Vollenhoven and Prinsloo joining St Helens. As it was, the offer of a lucrative four-year contract, coupled with an assurance that he would be able to continue his studies at Leeds University, was far too tempting to refuse.

Acceptance in principle was simple; signing on the dotted line almost made Rugby League history! Unable to fly to England for a further fortnight, because of his impending marriage in Johannesburg, he granted powers of attorney to his father, who met Mr George Airey, the Leeds Chairman, in London, just a couple of days before the R.L. Cup deadline, to endorse the contract and sign the official Registration Form on his son’s behalf. Legal and above board, it all certainly was, but the Cup and Rules Committee wisely declined to create a precedent, ruling the form invalid.

Arriving with his bride in mid-February, and opting eventually for a four year course in Dentistry, Wilf took longer than anticipated to tune up and acclimatise, yet suddenly clicked into action in the very last match of the season, selling a classic dummy in his own ’25’, skating at speed over a midfield morass, and then accelerating round Pimblett, the Widnes full-back, to bring down the house with a sensationally spectacular dive for the touchdown.

The longer he played at centre, however, the more he looked like a winger. Moreover, whatever reservations he may have had initially after trial outings on the left flank, they were quickly dispelled in March 1960, when he teamed up on the right with Derek Hallas, a nine-match sequence yielding eleven tries of searing pace and unflinching resolution. Next season could not come soon enough!

Nor was it one that he is ever likely to forget! Six tries in August, seven in September, four more in October; by the end of the League programme the tally had reached 42. Where better to break Turnbull’s post-war Club record than at Headingley in the Championship Semi-Final against St Helens? Where, indeed! A perfectly timed pass from Dennis Goodwin, a dive for the corner, and the record was his, albeit with precious little time to draw breath, let alone celebrate, as the battle ebbed and flowed. And then, just fifteen minutes from time, even as the beleaguered Loiners were clinging on grimly to their 8-4 lead, came a moment of glory to cherish for the rest of his days. The breakout was sudden, slick passing between Barry Simms, Colin Evans and Derek Hallas putting him in possession some forty yards out. Mick Sullivan turned from challenging Hallas to find his quarry beyond pursuit, the covering Cliff Watson lunged in vain, full-back Austin Rhodes, guarding the touchline route, went for the push rather than a tackle and could only gape in disbelief as ‘The Flying Dentist’ scorched past, to touch down amid scenes of indescribable emotion.

Regrettably, for all he played in the Final at Odsal, the try against St Helens was to be his last in Leeds colours. Extremely reluctant to regain form and confidence in the ‘A’ team, after sustaining a fractured jaw in an ultraphysical confrontation at Parkside, he was transferred to Hull at his own request, and shared a Boulevard debut versus Bramley on 9th December 1961 with the late, lamented Clive Sullivan. Some debut it was, too, with ‘Sully’ scoring three tries and Wilf two.

Bowing out at The Boulevard on 19th December 1964, when Leeds, ironically enough, were the victors by 23 points to 3, Wilf returned to South Africa to set up in practice as a Dental Surgeon.

On this day in 1965, David Creasser was born. In his cut-short career, robbed by a succession of shoulder injuries, he still managed to be one of the select band to amass over 1,000 points for the club and play for his country.

He was a very unassuming lad and a wonderful talent from the Hunslet Parkside stable. Sufficiently skilled to operate as a play maker at stand off, early on, especially, it was his speed and ability to anticipate the play from centre that distinguished him.

He marked himself out as something special on only his second appearance for Leeds, virtually winning a game at Wakefield single-handedly with a wonderful hat trick. Superb at Wigan kicking the goals that won the John Player in 1984 despite a howling wind, he seemed unfazed by pressure when stepping up with the boot in many crucial cup ties.

A cultured footballer, I am convinced that if he had steered clear of injury he would have not only gone on the 1988 tour but would have been one of the finest ever to don the blue and amber.