On this Day – 10th May

ON THIS DAY in 1969, Leeds progressed through to the Championship Final with a 22-12 win over Salford in the Championship play off semi final at Headingley.

A rain-swept morning most have kept a lot fo faint hearts away, for the match of the season only attracted under 16,000. But those who did attend enjoyed every minute of a thrilling first half dominated by Colin Dixon’s brilliant long-run tries which gave Salford a six point lead at half time. In the second half, Leeds turned on the heat and if Risman had been on target (twice hitting the upright) and two missed try chances been taken, another 16 points would have been scored.
Leeds: Risman, Cowan, Hynes, Watson, Atkinson, Shoebottom, Seabourne, Clark, Crosby, Joyce, Cookson, Ramsey, Batten
Subs: Langley, Fawdington
Tries: Cowan (2), Batten (2), Hynes Crosby
Goals: Risman (2)

ON THIS DAY in 1930 history was made when Leeds and Huddersfield met in the Championship Final. Champions Huddersfield were looking for their fifth title whilst Leeds were still in search for their first Championship.

For the first time in the history of the tournament the Championship Final ended in a draw when the two sides met at Wakefield. In a scrappy game, Huddersfield had to hold on for a long period of the game after Banks had been dismissed from the field in the first half. Skipper Joe Thompson kicked Leeds’ only points in the 2-2 draw. The replay was played two days later and Thrum Hall, Halifax, with Huddersfield winning 10-0.

ON THIS DAY in 1941, with the Emergency Leagues in operation during the War, Leeds played Bradford Northern in the Challenge Cup semi final second leg on this day at Odsal. The first leg had been played at Headingley the previous week with 16,000 fans in attendance. The home office had relaxed their controls on mass gatherings as the danger from air attacks was not considered quite so alarmingly by now. In that game, each side scored two tries and two goals and over 22,000 assembled for the second leg. Leeds were unquestionably superior on the day, inflicting on Bradford only their second defeat of the season and their first at home to win 12-2 thanks to tries from Eric Batten, who was guesting for Leeds during the war, and Vic Hey. Leeds went on to meet Halifax in the Final at Odsal the following week.

In 1996, Leeds travelled to the French capital for a first ever meeting with Paris St Germain. Tongan Rugby Union international Sateki Tuipulotu and New Zealander Dean Clark made their debuts for the visitors. Dean Bell’s side produced an impressive 40-14 win in one of the performances of the season during a disappointing campaign.

ON THIS DAY in 2002, Leeds faced Bradford Bulls at Headingley in a tense West Yorkshire derby. The Rhinos had knocked Champions Bradford out of the Challenge Cup earlier in the season.

However, Leeds had not beaten Bradford in the league since July 2000 and had gone behind 10-0 through Tevita Vaikona’s try and three Paul Deacon goals before Kevin Sinfield and Willie Poching’s scores, converted by Ben Walker edged them ahead at the break.

Tries to Wayne McDonald and Tonie Carroll sent Leeds 24-10 ahead before Robbie Paul replied, but two more Walker goals – the Australian had also been successfully switched to full back – sealed the win before Stuart Fielden’s late score.

ON THIS DAY in 2012, Leeds Rhinos headed to face Leigh Centurions in the Challenge Cup and it proved to be a red letter day for skipper Kevin Sinfield.

Sinfield collected 28 points, including two tries, as his side booked their place in the semi finals for the 16th time in 20 years.

The Rhinos travelled to the Leigh Sports Village for the first time for this Quarter Final clash.

ON THIS DAY in 2015, there was a disappointing result for the Rhinos as they suffered a third successive game without victory in the middle of the Treble winning campaign.

The Rhinos lost out against Widnes Vikings despite two tries from Kallum Watkins and one apiece from Joel Moon, Stevie Ward and Jimmy Keinhorst.

The Rhinos were looking to extend their lead at the top of the First Utility Super League but knew they would face a fired up Vikings outfit after they  suffered a heart breaking last second defeat to their local rivals Warrington the previous week.

ON THIS DAY in 1977, future Rugby League superstar Adrian Morley was born.

Former Rhinos boss Graham Murray called Adrian Morley the finest young forward in the British game when he arrived in this country and Adrian Morley lived up to that billing over an illustrious 20 year career. 

When he left Leeds at the age of only 23, he had made 149 appearances for the Rhinos, been on a Lions tour to New Zealand, starred against the touring Australians and, memorably, gained a Challenge Cup winners medal with a typically forceful and courageous performance at Wembley. 

He made his debut for Leeds having signed from Eccles near Salford where he was born, in April 1995 after a short apprenticeship in the Academy ranks. On his first full appearance at Thrum Hall a week later he registered his first try for the club.

Adrian left Leeds at the end of the 2000 season to join former coach Graham Murray at the Sydney Roosters. His first season was punctuated by injuries and suspension and he found himself moved up from the second row to prop. 2002 was to be the year though for Morley as he took the NRL by storm and proved to be one of the world’s best. The Roosters recorded their first Premiership win in over twenty years and Morley had a crucial role in turning the tide in favour of the Sydney-siders. His impact was so immense that when captain Brad Fitler was interviewed in the stadium after the game the only player he singled out for specific praise was Morley.

In 1999 he was named in the Leeds Great of the Millennium list and was the youngest of the 29 ‘greats’ but no less deserving for that. Morley made 23 appearances for England and won 30 caps for Great Britain as well as captaining his country following a successful spell as skipper of Warrington on his return to Super League. He finished his career at his home town club of Salford to bring an incredible 20 year journey full circle.