Rate My Takeaway's Danny Malin shares his joy after joining 'awesome' Rugby League All Stars
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After being inspired by Rugby League legends Rob Burrows and Kevin Sinfield 10 years ago, the Rate My Takeaway star and his wife Sophie have become charity patrons and players of Rugby League All Stars.
Saturday is my takeaway night and little did I know, it was also the day I’d find my love of sport just over a decade ago. My Saturday gym session involved lifting up the TV remote and ordering a kebab on my phone.
I was stuck for what to watch so I thought I’d watch a proper Yorkshire sport as there was no football or boxing on. That’s when I discovered Rugby League, a family-friendly sport born in West Yorkshire.
Rugby Union never did it for me as it can be quite slow, but there’s something different about Rugby League. It’s faster paced and more down to earth. Most of all, I came to realise it’s a family.
Living in Morley at the time, I naturally started to support Leeds Rhinos.
After going to matches at Headingley, I became immersed in the sport and started to look for a local team to help out. At the time there was a local Rugby League club for children to train, but it was at risk of folding with no coaches.
So I got together with a few lads to start what is now known as Morley Knights. I became the chairman and even trained to become a coach because everyone has to muck in when you’re starting a grassroots club.
When I went viral on YouTube with Rate My Takeaway, I ploughed a lot of my first pay checks into the club and became its president when I could no longer commit to the day-to-day running of the club.
I still helped to coach and took my own son to train as well as watch our heroes at Leeds Rhinos.
One of the Leeds players I’d got friendly with, Keith Senior, had seen I’d gone viral on YouTube and that I was passionate about mental health and Rugby League. He invited me to meet Jonny Morgan and Dean Hoggard, two former players who had set up Life for a Kid charity which runs Rugby League All Stars.
It was right up my street – not only did the charity matches raise money to help the next generation with any essentials they needed, they also gave former Rugby League pros a purpose back in their lives.
Then there was me. I was invited to join the team and play. I could relate to the guys who had hit tough times on leaving the sport, because I know how lonely it can be for me when I’m filming and getting recognised in the street when I feel dead inside, while also having the pressure to provide for my family.
Although I couldn’t relate to having ever played rugby myself – and I certainly don’t have an optimum level of fitness!
The fact that I got to play alongside some of my Rugby League heroes and raise money for Life for a Kid charity was awesome on so many levels, so how could I refuse?
Ever since putting on my rugby boots for the All Stars I haven’t taken them off. I haven’t played for long in any match but whether it’s been meeting up with the lads, fundraising events or playing rugby the camaraderie is a solid 10.
We’re already like a family and there’s lots more events and sporting fundraisers we’ll be doing in the new year.