Leeds Rhinos: Rob Burrow’s diagnosis was ‘so tough to take’, admits Keith Senior
FORMER LEEDS Rhinos star Keith Senior was stunned after Rob Burrow revealed his terminal illness.
Senior was an established first-teamer when Burrow made his Leeds debut in 2001 and the pair went on to play together in four Super League Grand Final wins before a knee injury ended the Great Britain centre’s career in 2011.
Now an assistant-coach at Sheffield Eagles, Senior has remained friends with Burrow who is Rhinos’ reserve team boss. The 37-year-old – who along with wife Lindsey has two young daughters and a son – broke the news of his motor neuron disease to Senior last week, ahead of a public announcement on Thursday.
Senior said: “It was tough to take, tough to be told something like that, knowing that somebody so young is going to have to go through it, but then it’s also what his family is going to have to go through as well.
“It was a total smack in the teeth. He was very positive, that’s the beauty of Rob, he’s a very positive character. I know he’ll be as positive as he can because it’s the only way he knows.”
Recalling their time as team-mates, Senior claimed: “I had to look after the little fella when he got himself into a few scrapes, a few fights and stuff.
“I’ve become a little bit protective of him, because he’s only four foot four. He’s one of those guys, he’s very likeable and a bit of a joker.
“I can imagine him doing his best to find some funny points out of this.
“He’ll do his best and try not to let it get him down. He is going to have his moments when he’s going to break down, he’s going to have his moments when he’s going to be happy; it’s about making sure there are people around him, when he does have those low points, for him to talk to.”
A host of Burrow’s ex-colleagues and opponents have taken to social media to wish him well. Former Leeds prop Barrie McDermott Tweeted: “@Rob7Burrow is one of the best human beings I’m privileged to call my friend let’s get behind him as the #RLFamily.”
Adrian Vowles, who played for Castleford, Leeds and Wakefield, wrote: “I have never met a better bloke than Rob, a champion in every sense of the word.”