On this Day – 17th November

On the 17th November in 1912 former Leeds star Vic Hey was born and in 1997 Dean Bell, in his new role as Head of Youth Development made his first signing, beating off Bradford and Huddersfield to secure the signature of Matt Diskin.

ON THIS DAY in 1912 former Leeds star Vic Hey was born. Australian Test star Vic Hey would have been a legend anyway at Leeds, his creative genius and punishing tackling endearing him to the Headingley faithful over seven years, but one act will forever enshrine his name in club folklore.

On Christmas Eve 1938, with the rugby pitch unfit, he became the only player ever to score a try on the famous cricket ground as Leeds beat Salford 5-0. A Kangaroo tourist in 1933, the strapping stand off came to Leeds in August 1937 and quickly assumed the mantle of captain, his searing pace and sidestep marking him out as one of the best of his era. In all he made 145 appearances scoring 73 tries and picked up two Challenge Cup winners medals in 1941 and 1942.

On leaving Leeds he went to Dewsbury where he spent three years as a player/coach and with them won the Yorkshire League title. His career in England ended with a brief spell with Hunslet, the team he had made his debut against with Leeds, he played nine games with them before returning to Australia. Once back home Vic joined Parramatta as player/coach and then coached Australia in their Ashes triumph of 1954.

ON THIS DAY in 1997 Leeds Rhinos announced they had signed Dewsbury Under 16 captain Matt Diskin. Leeds had to fight off competition from Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers and Huddersfield Giants to secure the young players signature.

Diskin was the first signing Dean Bell made in his new role as Head of Youth Development at Leeds and commenting at the time Dean said “We are delighted that Matthew has chosen to join Leeds Rhinos. We believe that he is the most significant signing from Junior Rugby in Yorkshire this Year. We believe that he will be a Super League player within the next three years.” Matt of course has gone onto be one of the stars of the current Rhinos squad and was fundamental in the 2004 Super League win, being named Man of the Match in the final, as well as being recognised for his efforts over the season when he was named Player of the Year.

ON THIS DAY in 1993 Stevie Ward was born. The former Churwell Chief and Hunslet junior came through the Leeds Academy and made his debut in 2012 and appeared in that year’s Challenge Cup Final and that year’s winning Grand Final side.

He won the Challenge Cup in 2015 and the league leaders shield, but injury meant he missed that year’s Grand Final. He had a memorable season in 2017, finishing as runner in the player of the season awards and defying the odds to come back from a shoulder dislocation to play and win his second Super League title.