Emotional evening in store as Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow returns to Emerald Headingley for Super League game against Huddersfield Giants

Emotions will be running high when one of Leeds Rhinos’ favourite sons, Rob Burrow, returns to Emerald Headingley on Thursday.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 5:36 pm

Burrow will be guest of honour at Rhinos’ Super League game against Huddersfield Giants - the first time he has attended the stadium on a matchday since January last year.

The former scrum-half, who won eight Super League titles during a glittering 492-game playing career for Leeds, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (mnd) in December, 2019.

Burrow’s illness sent shockwaves through rugby league and sparked a massive effort to raise awareness of mnd and funds to battle the terminal condition.

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Rob Burrow with son Jackson at a fundraising match at Headingley in January last year. Picture by Steve Riding.

His autobiography, Too Many Reasons To Live, will be officially launched at tomorrow evening’s match.

The 38-year-old father of three young children has not been at a Rhinos home fixture since making a brief playing comeback during a fundraising game against Bradford Bulls last year, when a full house of more than 20,000 flocked to Headingley to pay tribute to the club legend.

Rhinos coach Richard Agar described Burrow as a “superman” and expects tonight to be an emotional occasion.

“It is always special seeing Rob,” Agar said.

Rob Burrow celebrates Rhinos' Grand Final win in 2017. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“I saw him at a Featherstone game last week and he is in really good spirits.

“He still loves and enjoys his rugby league.

“He has not been in and around our camp since February, when he presented Zane Tetevano’s game shirt.

“It will be great to see him and everyone will look forward to seeing him.”

Burrow’s refusal to let mnd break his spirit has been an inspiration well beyond rugby league’s traditional heartlands.

He was made an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours and Agar praised his “unbelievable courage and spirit in the face of circumstances none of us could really imagine”.

The Rhinos boss added: “We all love and are really passionate about the sport, but to see a guy face up to what he has had to makes you proud there are guys like that in our sport.

“Sport is very important, but it puts everything into a lot of perspective when you see the challenges Rob has faced.”

Burrow’s presence will give Rhinos extra motivation in a must-win game, Agar reckons.

He said: “Some of our guys were teammates of Rob and he has coached quite a number of them.

“On a personal level, a lot of our guys have a personal bond with Rob and a lot of care for him.”

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