On this Day – 2nd July

On 2nd July in 1997, Leeds secured a narrow 20-18 win over Halifax at Headingley in Super League.

Leeds secured the win through tries from Iestyn Harris, Terry Newton and Graham Holroyd but the victory was soured by the sight of prop Barrie McDermott being carried from the field with a badly broken leg that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

In 1999, the Rhinos defeated Sheffield Eagles at Headingley 40-16. Graham Murray’s side were ten games unbeaten going into the game and ran in seven tries in victory.

In 2006, Leeds Rhinos made the journey to the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Giants.

Leeds were in the middle of an impressive run of midseason form and they continued it against the Giants with Danny Williams scoring a brace as one of six different try scorers.

On this day in 1969, former New Zealand and Leeds centre Richie Blackmore was born.

James Richard Blackmore has the honour of scoring the first try in a Grand Final here, powering over against Wigan at Old Trafford in 1998, his second season with the Rhinos after signing from Auckland Warriors.

Originally making his name in rugby union, he made his debut for the Kiwis in 1991 – having signed for Castleford, where he won the Regal Trophy – amassing 25 Tests and scoring 15 tries; his last appearances for them in the 2000 World Cup. He returned home to play for the Auckland Warriors in their first season in 1995, making his debut in round 10, joining the Rhinos two years later and scoring a brace of tries in his second game, at home to Oldham.

He was one of Gary Hetherington’s first signings for Leeds, having originally agreed to join Hetherington at Sheffield Eagles before he realised he would be playing further North up the M1. He spent four seasons at the Rhinos, playing in the 1999 and 2000 Challenge Cup Finals and that inaugural Grand Final. In total, he made 77 appearances, scoring 29 tries in total.

In mid-1999 Blackmore suffered a serious leg injury that kept him out for most of the season and the following year, while recovering, played union for Leeds Tykes before returning for a final stint at the Warriors.

He began a successful coaching career in 2004 with Manurewa, moved to home town Otahuhu and the NZ Maori before winning the New South Wales Coach of the Year award in 2011 after guiding the Auckland Vulcans to the NSW Cup grand final. He spent a year working as general manager with Leigh, returning to coaching with Papakura in 2014 and was among the final four applicants for the Kiwis head coaching role. He took the Papakura Sea Eagles to their maiden Fox Memorial title and is still involved with coaching in Auckland.

Richie Blackmore scored the first ever Super League Grand Final try when Leeds lost out to Wigan in 1998 at Old Trafford

In 1910, Leeds star Fred Webster was in the England team that took on Australia in the first ever Lions tour Down Under.

The game was played in Brisbane in front of 18,000 fans in Brisbane and the visitors won 22-17 to take a 2-0 lead in the four game series.

Fred Webster