Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Luke Briscoe and Eric Harris share remarkable try record
Then he carried on scoring and scoring and scoring – for a club record 17 successive matches.
Harris’ run eventually ended on March 7, 1936, when Fred Harris scored the only touchdown of a 50-4 win over Hull at the Boulevard in a Challenge Cup third round tie.
The Toowoomba Ghost’s incredible sequence has been matched only once in English professional rugby league, when current Rhinos winger Luke Briscoe – then playing for Featherstone Rovers – crossed the whitewash in 17 successive matches.
Briscoe touched down in Rovers’ final game of the 2017 season – a 26-20 loss at Halifax in the middle-eights – and their first 16 of 2018.
The record ended when he failed to score in a 42-20 home loss to Leigh Centurions on May 19.
Another winger, Paul Sterling, was Rhinos’ trailblazer in the summer era, scoring tries in 10 consecutive games during the 1997 season. That matched Ellery Hanley’s feat from 1994-95 – including three Regal Trophy ties – and Drew Turnbull in 1954-55. Turnbull, Hanley and Sterling are the only players to have managed a 10-game try scoring sequence for Leeds in post-war rugby..
Sterling began his career in rugby union with Bradford and Bingley before switching codes to join Hull in 1993. Three years later he scored 13 tries in 12 appearances for Hunslet Hawks and was signed by Leeds.
A classy finisher, blessed with electric pace, Sterling ran in 55 tries in 101 games for Rhinos before leaving the club at the end of 2000.
Twenty of those tries came in 30 appearances during his debut campaign, under coach Dean Bell. Sterling’s purple patch began on April 11 when he scored Leeds’ only four-pointer in a famous 13-12 home win over champions St Helens.
That was Iestyn Harris’ full debut and the victory came in dramatic fashion after Saints’ former Leeds half-back Bobbie Goulding scored a last-minute try next to the right-hand upright, but missed with a straight-forward conversion attempt.
Sterling also crossed in a last-gasp 24-21 win over Castleford Tigers and 30-18 success at Sheffield Eagles, before a 40-16 thumping at London Broncos 23 years ago today.
The Welsh international winger continued his run in wins over Paris St Germain, Salford Reds – when he crossed twice – and Oldham Bears, a 30-30 draw at Castleford and a 50-12 home success against Warrington Wolves.
Finally, Sterling bagged a brace when Leeds lost 42-20 at North Queensland Cowboys in the World Club Championship, his streak coming to an end the following week at Adelaide Rams, on June 13.
Sterling’s club record of tries in nine consecutive Super League games still stands.
Keith Senior came close to matching it when he scored in eight consecutive Super League games in 2002.
Two years later, Danny McGuire touched down in eight successive fixtures twice, though the first of those runs included a try in a Challenge Cup tie. Eight-game scoring runs by Zak Hardaker (2012) and Kallum Watkins (2013) included cup ties.
Under coach Graham Murray, Sterling missed out on featuring in the 1998 Grand Final loss to Wigan Warriors after losing his place to Leroy Rivett for the semi-final against St Helens.
He did not play in the 1999 Challenge Cup final win over London, or the defeat by Bradford Bulls at the same stage the following year.
In 2000 new boss Dean Lance left Sterling, who at 35 was the oldest player in Super League, out of the side until a Super League round 12 win over Wigan.
Later that year an indistrial tribunal ruled Sterling had been victim of “unconscious” racial discrimination by his coach.
Leeds planned to appeal against an order to offer him a new one-year contract, but Sterling decided to retire the following March.
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