Leeds Rhinos fanatic Richard Stevens might live Down Under but he’s hoping to be on top of the world this Saturday.
Richard, 48, and originally from Leeds, is travelling back to the UK from his home in Sydney for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley between Rhinos and Castleford Tigers.
He kicked off his 20,000-mile round trip yesterday, carrying a suitcase packed with little more than some Rhinos shirts and a tracksuit top.
Richard, who grew up in Alwoodley and went to his first Leeds match aged four, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It will be worth it if we win!
“I don’t care if we do it by one point or 100 points, we cannot lose to Castleford. Can you imagine, we would never hear the end of it.”
Saturday’s Wembley showdown isn’t the first time that Richard has gone that extra mile for his beloved rugby league club.
He came back from his then home in the United States to watch them lose against Wigan in 1994’s Challenge Cup final.
Richard also made the journey from Australia for the side’s Grand Final victories over St Helens at Old Trafford in 2007 and 2008.
“People over there think I’m a bit mad but they also understand this is the kind of thing you have to do when you have such a passion for a club,” he said.
“I had the flight booked almost as soon as the semi-final [win over Warrington Wolves] finished.
“Kick-off time for me in Australia was half eleven at night, so I think I woke a few of the neighbours up with my dancing around and shouting after the match!”
Fingers crossed, Richard also has a significant sporting commitment of his own in Australia just around the corner.
He is due to touch down again in Oz next Saturday morning and – assuming his amateur soccer team come through a semi-final tie unscathed while he is away – he will play in a cup final for them in the evening.
*Are you making a special trip from overseas for the Wembley final?
Will your family be split by divided West Yorkshire rugby loyalties on Saturday afternoon?
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