Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Dick torments Bradford as rampant Leeds claim the Premiership crown
LEEDS' UNBROKEN era of success was extended to 13 successive seasons 37 years ago this week.
On May 27, 1979, Leeds won the Premiership Trophy for the second time with a 24-2 thrashing of Bradford Northern at Huddersfield’s Fartown ground.
The Premiership was an end-of-season top-eight play-off competition introduced in 1975 when the Championship trophy was handed to the team finishing top of the table.
Leeds won the competition in its inaugural season and repeated the feat four years later, lifting the trophy for the second and final time.
Kevin Dick, Leeds’ combative scrum-half, won the Harry Sunderland award as man of the match for an outstanding display during which he kicked seven goals and landed a one-pointer.
Leeds went into the game as hot favourites, having finished fourth in the league table, four points clear of Bradford, who claimed the final place in the play-offs.
The Loiners avoided a backlog of fixtures because of Headingley’s undersoil heating and had almost a month’s break between their final league game, on April 20 and the round one Premiership victory over St Helens on May 15.
They saw off Wigan in the semi-finals five days later and went into the final, the following weekend, fresh and raring to go, in contrast to weary Northern.
Inspirational stand-off John Holmes missed the final through injury, losing his ever-present record for the season and Les Dyl limped off injured after just five minutes.
But Leeds, despite going behind to a Steve Ferres penalty goal, were on top throughout as their pack dominated in front of a 19,489 crowd.
The forwards created space for Dick and ‘Sammy’ Sanderson to run the show in the halves.
It took Leeds until the 32nd minute to register the first try, David Smith racing over and two Dick goals giving them a 7-2 interval lead.
Dick landed two more penalties and a drop goal in the second half before Dick intercepted to put Leeds on the attack and Alan Smith went over from acting-half, with 11 minutes left, to give the Loiners breathing space.
Dick tormented Northern with two more goals and Loiners completed the scoring in the final moments when captain David Ward crossed.