On this Day – 8th August
On this day in 1986 Lee Smith was born in Leeds. An Academy graduate, Lee Smith was equally adept at full back and winger. He scored four tries in three Grand Final appearances between 2007 and 2009, helping the Rhinos to an unprecedented three titles in a row in the Super League era. His best performance came in 2008 when he was drafted into the side at full back when Brent Webb was ruled out with a back injury and he went on to win the Harry Sunderland award as the man of the match.
On this day in 2003 Leeds played in front of a record crowd at Headingley against Bradford Bulls. The teams had already played each other on two occasions already that season and the Bulls had taken the victory both times, but it looked like a case of third time lucky for the Rhinos when they went close to beating their local rivals but the visitors incredible defence decided the game. Gary Connolly, Keith Senior and Rob Burrow were the try scorers and Kevin Sinfield added two goals but it was not enough to see the side lose 16-18.
On this day in 2004 the Rhinos travelled to the Galpharm Stadium to play Huddersfield and they continued their winning run in the league by beating the Giants 42-10. The win saw Leeds move a step closer to the League Leaders Shield by extending their lead to 5 points. The Rhinos made it hard for Huddersfield in the first half by creating a 30-0 lead before the break. Wayne McDonald opened the try scoring on four minutes and opened the floodgates for Marcus Bai and then Chris McKenna to touch down. Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Willie Poching and Chris McKenna scored his second to add to the Giants misery and Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow scored 5 goals a piece to give the Rhinos the 42-10 win.
In 2008, Leeds took on Bradford Bulls at Headingley and secured a 28-18 win in the West Yorkshire derby.
Tries from Bradford’s Paul Sykes, James Evans and Wayne Godwin were balanced by scores from Jordan Tansey, Luke Burgess and Nick Scruton as the two sides spent three-quarters of the evening engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle.
The Bulls could still have edged a shock win after Carl Ablett’s try handed Leeds a four-point lead. However, the home side remained out front, with their fourth victory this season against their rivals sealed thanks to a late score from Danny McGuire.
On this day in 1999, Leeds Rhinos full back Jack Walker was born in Leeds.
Walker has been an ever present in the Rhinos side since making his debut as a teenager back in 2017 and finished that season by becoming the youngest ever winner of a Super League Grand Final.