Leeds Rhinos nostalgia: How Brent Webb became the Rhinos’ own ‘superman’
THE COMIC strip version may be famous for donning his underpants over his trousers, but as far as Leeds Rhinos fans are concerned, the real Superman wore blue and amber.
Brent Webb earned the nickname for a series of scintillating performances for Leeds Rhinos during the most successful six years in the club’s history.
Rhinos were crowned Super League champions in all but one of Webb’s seasons at Headingley, from 2007-2012.
The former New Zealand Test full-back was born 41 years ago today, on a significant day in Leeds’ history.
On the same date, November 8, 1980 – 9,350 miles away from Webb’s birthplace in Cairns, Australia – Leeds produced one of their most gritty big-game performances, pipping hot favourites Hull KR 8-7 in a thrilling Yorkshire Cup final at Huddersfield’s Fartown ground.
Finals were in Webb’s blood and he played in five of them for Rhinos.
He was at full-back for Leeds’ 2007, 2009 and 2011 Old Trafford wins over St Helens, but missed the 2008 Grand Final, against the same opponents, because of a back injury.
Lee Smith took over as Rhinos’ last line of defence that evening and produced a man-of -the-match performance.
In 2011, Leeds were 16-8 behind in the second half, but Webb dummied and stretched through Saints’ defence for a crucial try which set them on course to become the first side to win the Grand Final from fifth on the league ladder.
After the game, Webb hailed that triumph as his finest moment in Rhinos colours.
“We know we can do anything and we’ve proved it again,” he said.
“This victory is the best one.
“Take nothing away from the others, but where we’ve been this season and listening to some opinions, it’s nice to jam it up them every now and again.”
Webb was a Challenge Cup runner-up in 2010 and 2011, but missed both major finals in 2012 through injury.
He signed for Catalans Dragons, on a two-year contract, in September, 2012, but played only 10 times before a chronic back injury forced him to hang up his boots, aged 34.
Webb made his name playing for New Zealand Warriors, making 103 NRL appearances from 2002-2006.
He qualified for the Kiwis through residency and was capped 17 times.
Leeds’ Yorkshire Cup triumph on the day Webb was born was their 16th in the competition.
They went into the showpiece on a run of five consecutive defeats – including a 33-8 home loss to Widnes and 34-9 Headingley setback against Castleford – but coach Syd Hynes’ men rose to the occasion, in front of a crowd of 9,751.
They trailed 7-2 at half-time, Kevin Dick’s penalty goal having been cancelled out by a Mike Smith try and two Phil Hogan kicks.
But soon after the break, Alan Smith’s 300th career try, converted by Dick, got Leeds back on level terms and then Dick – who was man of the match – landed a long-range drop goal to win the trophy.
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