LEEDS RHINOS legend Jamie Peacock described his testimonial match as one of the greatest moments of his glittering career.
A record crowd of 11,608 turned out to honour Peacock, who has won eight Super League titles, four World Club Challenges and the Challenge Cup three times.
Rhinos beat Peacock’s former club Bradford Bulls 34-14, but all the attention focused on the former England captain and he admitted to being “humbled” by the response.
“It has been a surreal kind of week and an amazing day,” Peacock said.
“I am unbelievably humbled by everything that’s gone on and how everyone at the club has been – everybody who works at the club, how Mac (coach Brian McDermott) and the players have been, everything Bradford have done and their players and also all the fans who turned up.
“I have had some special days in rugby league and been very fortunate. This is definitely right up there.”
Peacock was named man of the match, but admitted he was knocked out of his stride by the emotion of the occasion.
The 37-year-old front-rower spilled the ball the first time he touched it and said: “I was a bit overwhelmed at the start, to be honest.
“I thought I was a bit rusty, some of the things I did.
“My game is based around just working hard and I think if you can get that right, which I tried to do, things generally come off for you.
“I am looking forward to the new year.
“We have got some good things going off and I thought we were good in the first half, particularly.”
Of his early error, Peacock said: “It was bad, wasn’t it?
“I had it in my head I was going to knock-on and that’s what happens.
“I was laughing, the irony of it was unbelievable.”
McDermott was satisfied with Rhinos’ only full-scale warm-up ahead of their First Utility Super League opener at Hull KR in 13 days’ time.
Rhinos scored four first-half tries to lead 24-0 at the break, but were out-scored three touchdowns to two by the Kingstone Press Championship outfit after the break.
“We got out of it what we needed to,” McDermott said.
“I thought it was good in parts. The game was a contest, Bradford had a crack and made it difficult at times, which is what we needed.”
McDermott said Rhinos came through the game with no new injuries.
Zak Hardaker (ill) and Brett Delaney (ankle) did not feature.
Meanwhile, Bulls coach James Lowes paid tribute to Peacock, who he played with at Bradford and coached during his time at Leeds.
He said: “It’s good to see someone who everyone else had written off at the time show so much self-belief and determination, backed up by his family – his dad in particular.
“He never gave up on a dream and he’s had an outstanding career.
“At the time when it was make or break, he backed himself to the hilt. He is a credit to himself.”