2021 Year Review: Part Three
As 2021 draws to a close, it has been a eventful twelve months for Leeds Rhinos. From drop goal dramas, fans flocking back to Headingley and an extreme challenges undertaken by club legend Kevin Sinfield, there has been plenty of action associated with the Rhinos over the last year so we’re looking back at all the highs and lows of each month.
Here is the run down of events that took place from September to December:
September was a month full of elation for Leeds as they secured a play off spot and a first win at the Dacia Magic Weekend for the first time since 2019.
Facing Hull FC at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, the Rhinos had trailed 24-14 midway through the second half but fought back to level the game and send it into Golden Point. Kruise Leeming proved to be the man of the moment and stepped up to kick the decisive drop goal.
A tough evening in St Helens followed as the reigning champions ran riot with a 40-6 win at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but Leeds wouldn’t finish the regular season on a low note. Against Hull KR though, the Rhinos secured fifth place with a 36-12 result and sent the departing Konrad Hurrell, Alex Sutcliffe, King Vuniyayawa and Rob Lui out on a high in their final game at Headingley.
Celebrations were short though as a play off matchup with Wigan loomed. The game was low scoring but it was a classic play off game for the ages as neither side were willing to back down defensively. In the end, a sole try from Ash Handley proved the difference, as well as two goals from Rhyse Martin.
Following the win over Wigan, the Rhinos had already gone further than they had in 2020. A semi final clash against St Helens though proved to be a step too far as a disappointing evening saw tries from Richie Myler and Luke Briscoe only dent Saints’ 36-8 score.
The chance for silverware wasn’t over though for Leeds as the Rhinos Women’s team had booked their place in the Grand Final. Facing off against St Helens, who were looking to complete the treble, it was a tough afternoon as the Saints ran out 28-0 victors in a one sided game. Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair on the other hand made history as they beat Leyland Warriors to secure the treble.
Off the field, recruitment continued for 2022 as the club announced the signing of New Zealand Warriors winger David Fusitu’a in a major coup. Richard Hunwicks also returned as the Rhinos’ new Performance Director after his success with Catalans Dragons.
Recruitment continued elsewhere in the club too as the Women’s team announced the capture of former Woman of Steel and England international Georgia Roche. Seven Rhinos stars (Riley Lumb, Jack Johnson, Max Simpson, Will Gatus, Jack Smith, Kai Morgan and Jack Sinfield) also signed their first academy contracts.
November was dominated by Kevin Sinfield’s extraordinary Extra Mile challenge which saw the Rhinos’ former director of rugby run from Leicester rugby union, where he is a part of the defence coaching team, to Headingley Stadium in 24 hours.
Sinfield had raised over £2 million pounds for MND in 2020 with his seven marathons in seven days challenge but was determined to challenge himself again to raise £100,000, which would be equally split between the MND Association and the appeal to build The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds. By the time he finished at Headingley, he had once again crossed the £2 million mark.
Watch the full journey here:
November also saw former Rhinos captain Luke Gale announce his departure to Hull FC. The half back was a part of a series of transfers, after Marc Sneyd announced his return to Salford Red Devils. With an extra half back space alongside Josh Reynold, and after Leeds had signed both Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer, Gale made the move on to join Brett Hodgson’s side.
The Rhinos also revealed the new crop of young players that will play for the scholarship in 2022. 19 players from community clubs around Yorkshire and Lancashire were represented as the club continued to invest in it’s future.
As the end of the year approached, it continued to be a busy time at the Rhinos.
Tom Briscoe also received a three month testimonial from the RFL as the outside back approaches his 15th Super League season. Along with his successful Christmas Dinner held at the stadium, it was announced that the Rhinos would take on Hull FC in a special pre season match to show their gratitude for Briscoe’s efforts on and off the field.
Last week’s Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge rounded off the year in style too as the Rhinos defeated Wakefield Trinity 34-6, with the help of new signings Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer, James Bentley and academy star Jack Sinfield.
Are you ready to watch the Rhinos in 2022?
A full range of membership options are available for fans next year. Great benefits such as the 15% family membership discount and the digital match day programme subscription will continue, plus there will be the return of ‘Bring a Friend for Free’ for selected home matches next season.
The full range of memberships are:
- Gold Season Membership – Top Level Season Membership (Silver Season Membership plus £25)
- Silver Season Membership – Standard Season Membership
- Flexi Membership – 5 game pack
- Flexi Membership – 3 game pack
- Supporter Membership – Entry level membership and provides priority for ticket purchase
To find out more information about this year’s membership options, head over to tickets.therhinos.co.uk or call the ticket office on 0371 423 1315. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 10.30am-3.30pm (excluding Bank Holidays).
*Concessions = Senior Citizens, Students, Under 21s and Disabled. Senior Citizens means those aged 65 and over on 1st February 2022, Under 21s must be 20 or under on 1st February 2022 and Students must provide valid ID with an expiry date. We do not accept NUS, Totum or Uni Days or any Student ID that is not branded from a registered college or university.