Victorious Leeds Rhinos players got a welcome fit for heroes when they brought the Super League trophy back home for a record-breaking sixth time.
More than 4,000 jubilant Rhinos fans packed in to the Headingley Carnegie Stadium yesterday afternoon to cheer the players home after Saturday’s Grand Final win over Warrington at Old Trafford.
As Headingley basked in glorious Autumn sunshine, Rhinos players were welcomed on to the pitch one by one to rapturous applause.
The biggest cheer of the day, however, was saved for Rhinos skipper and man of the match Kevin Sinfield.
Fan Teresa Berry, 41, of Cross Gates, said: “Kevin Sinfield should be knighted.”
She added: “I think we should keep the cup now and the RFL should make a new one, because we have won it so many times.”
Claire Hufton, 34, of Beeston, said: “The lads were outstanding and they showed their championship qualities against Warrington.”
She added: “The club does a lot for families and the homecoming event is amazing, especially for the kids who get the chance to celebrate with the players. It’s brilliant.”
The team took time to chat to fans and sign autographs after the crowd enjoyed a show by girls from the Spencer Properties dance team.
Kevin Sinfield told the YEP: “It is an awesome turnout on a special day – the fans are incredible.
“We are really happy. We still can’t really believe it. I’m sure in a few weeks what we have achieved will sink in.”
Rhinos star Ryan Hall added: “The turnout today sums it up. The fans have been brilliant all year.”
Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, said: “It was a remarkable performance. The team are true heroes. They have done the whole city proud.” He added: “This team will go down in history as one of the great teams in rugby league.”
Rhinos chairman Paul Caddick said: “It was probably the best performance in the club’s history.”