On this Day – 24th June

Ben Jones-Bishop crosses against Castleford in 2012

On this day in 2005 Leeds took on London Broncos in the Challenge Cup at Headingley with Rob Burrow producing a man of the match performance to secure the Rhinos place in the semi final.

In 2011, Leeds welcomed Bradford Bulls to Headingley for a tight derby clash.

Patrick Ah Van booted Bradford to victory. The battling Bulls trailed 12-10 at the break, despite Olivier Elima twice responding to tries by Ryan Hall and Jamie Jones-Buchanan

But Leeds were totally shut out by the visitors after the break.  Ah Van then kicked four second-half penalties to add to his conversion before the break.

In 2012, Leeds took on Castleford Tigers at Headingley as the Champions looked to kick start their season.

Two tries from Rob Burrow and another from Ben Jones-Bishop gave the Rhinos a commanding lead, before a Paul Jackson score helped reduce the lead to 16-6.

However, efforts from Ryan Hall (two), Kallum Watkins and Jones-Bishop put Leeds 40-6 in front against a Tigers side who had Richard Owen sin-binned.

Castleford ended well with late scores from Craig Huby and Brett Ferres (two).

On this day in 1990, Leeds had four players involved in the Great Britain side that kicked off the New Zealand leg of the Lions tour. Carl Gibson and Garry Schofield were both on the scoresheet in a 11-10 victory for the tourists with Roy Powell and Paul Dixon also in the side.

On this day in 1954, Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington was born. Born and raised in Castleford, the son of a colliery manager.  Gary developed a passion for Rugby League at the age of 8 as a fan of his beloved “Classy Cas” team.  He trained as a teacher, but started his working life as a salesman, firstly in the grocery trade and latterly in double-glazing.

Gary played nearly 300 first team games as a professional RL player for Wakefield Trinity, York, Leeds and Huddersfield throughout the 1970s and early 1980s and he was instrumental in setting up the game’s first trade union for players.  His coaching career included the position of Assistant Coach to the GB team for the Test Series against Australia in 1994 and a Lions Tour to New Zealand in 1996 and also Coach to the GB Under 24 team. His passion from his early 20s, was to coach and manage, and after being turned down for the coaching job at York at the age of 27, he and his wife, Kath decided to form their own club – the Sheffield Eagles. 

Using £13,000 from his wife’s earnings as a double-glazing saleswoman, the Eagles were formed and accepted into the RFL in 1984.  Gary was the Owner, General Manager, Player and Team Manager. 

The success of the Eagles, both on and off the field was one of sports fairy tales and in 1996 Gary and his wife sold their controlling interest and Gary joined Paul Caddick to take over the ailing Leeds CF&A Co Ltd, owners and operators of Headingley Stadium and Leeds Rugby League Club.

Under Gary’s leadership, the Rhinos turned from perennial underachievers to World Champions in less than ten years and won their first Championship for 32 years in 2004.

On this day in 1967, former Leeds Rhinos hooker Wayne Collins was born. Double ARL Grand Finalist Collins, joined Leeds Rhinos for the start of the 1997 season following the takeover the club by Gary Hetherington. A no-nonsense experienced hooker, he epitomised the new era at Headingley as superstar names were replaced by hard working men who got the job done. Collins only played for one season but he is fondly remembered for his efforts that season. He is currently Head Coach of the Canterbury Cup side at Wests Tigers.