TWENTY MONTHS of work, beginning with demolition of the old South Stand in August, 2017, will be completed when Emerald Headingley’s new North Stand is officially opened before kick-off of Leeds Rhinos’ Betfred Super League derby against Castleford Tigers.
The new South Stand has been fully open since March and completion of the North Stand takes the rugby stadium’s capacity back up to nearly 20,000.
The North Stand includes 12 hospitality boxes plus newly refurbished facilities in the pavilion. The Emerald Suite will be open for the first time tomorrow with more than 450 guests enjoying views over both the rugby and cricket grounds.
The room is hosted by Leeds and England legend Jamie Peacock and guests at the game include world boxing champion Josh Warrington, Olympic medallist Nile Wilson, cricket star Ryan Sidebottom and Leeds United heroes Dom Matteo and Noel Whelan. More than 1,200 hospitality guests, a record for the club, will attend the match.Singer Sarah Fox will perform Land of Hope and Glory as teams line up in front of the North Stand to mark the official opening. As well as the new stands, the club have also invested in new floodlighting and audio visual equipment.
On the field, Tigers will be without ex-Leeds forward Chris Clarkson who suffered a leg injury against Hull last Friday. Prop Will Maher has been left out from the team on duty at KCOM Stadium and winger Greg Eden, who was rested last week and front-rower Mitch Clark could return.
Stand-off Jordan Rankin is available after injury and 19-year-old hooker Brad Jinks has been named in Tigers’ initial squad for the first time.
For Leeds, half-back Richie Myler, prop Brad Singleton, full-back Ashton Golding and forward James Donaldson are all vying for a recall. Centre Konrad Hurrell (hamstring) is sidelined after being injured against Bradford Bulls and front-rower Wellington Albert drops out.
Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Merrin, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Peteru, Oledzki, Golding, Smith, McLelland, Donaldson, Newman, Seumanufagai.
Castleford Tigers: from Aston, Blair, Clare, Clark, Cook, Eden, Egodo, Jinks, Massey, Mata’utia, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Rankin, Sene-Lefao, Trueman, Watts.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 7.45pm.