NOW ONE of Leeds Rhinos’ senior players – and sometimes captain – prop-forward Brad Singleton celebrates his 26th birthday today.
The Cumbrian front-rower joined Rhinos from community club Barrow Island in 2009 and has gone on to play in two Grand Final-winning sides as well as scoring at Wembley when Leeds retained the Challenge Cup against Hull KR in 2015.
He scored one try in 25 appearances this year, when he passed 100 starts for Rhinos. In total he has played 154 times for the club.
The first of those was a 46-12 home thrashing of Salford Red Devils on March 11, 2010.
The teenage forward came off the bench and made a favourable impression on Brian McDermott, who was in his first season as Rhinos coach.
The win was a welcome return to form for Rhinos who had lost at home to McDermott’s former club Harlequins and away against Warrington Wolves in their two previous games.
They ran in eight tries in freezing conditions with Keith Senior, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Weller Hauraki all crossing in the first half, after Stefan Ratchford had scored to give the visitors an early lead.
Adam Sidlow pulled a try back just before the break, Daniel Holdsworth adding his second conversion to make it 18-12, but Leeds cut loose in the final 40 minutes.
Kallum Watkins crossed before Leeds made the points safe with a burst of three tries in rapid succession, Brent Webb touching down and Carl Ablett bagging a brace.
It was Ali Lauitiiti’s 150th career start and he scored the final try. Kevin Sinfield kicked six conversions and a penalty.
Singleton’s first appearance came in Rhinos’ 200th regular-season home Super League game.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “Being part of the same team as people like Kevin Sinfield and Danny Buderus was amazing.
“I left my family in Cumbria to come down here and sign for Rhinos and nights like this are what it’s all about.”
It was his only appearance of the campaign. He made one as a substitute the following year before beginning to establish himself in the side in 2013.
Leeds Rhinos 46
(Tries: Ablett 2, Senior, Jones-Buchanan, Hauraki, Watkins, Webb, Lauitiiti. Goals: Sinfield 7
Salford Red Devils 12 (Tries: Ratchford, Sidlow. Goals: Holdsworth 2)
March 11, 2011, Super League.
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Senior, Hall, Sinfield, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Buderus, Kirke, Hauraki, Lauitiiti, Ablett. Subs Pitts, Clarkson, Singleton, McShane.
Salford City Reds: Patten, Broughton, Gibson, Nero, Henry, Ratchford, Holdsworth, Cashmore, Godwin, Boyle, Neal, Adamson, Wild. Subs Smith, Spencer, Paleaaesina, Sidlow.
Referee: Thierry Alibert.
ON THIS DAY
1934: Leeds were involved in a Yorkshire Cup final marathon against Wakefield Trinity. The sides drew 5-5 at Crown Flatt, Dewsbury, on October 27 and 2-2 in the replay at Huddersfield’s Fartown four days later, before the Loiners eventually triumphed 13-0 at Parkside, Hunslet, on November 7.
1964: Leeds lost 18-2 to Wakefield Trinity in the Yorkshire Cup final at Fartown 54 years ago on Wednesday. Robin Dewhurst kicked the Loiners’ only points.
1979: David Ward produced a man of the match performance for Leeds in a 27-10 home win over Hull on November 3. Graham Eccles and Alan Smith both scored two tries, Ward, Phil Cookson and Dave Heron got the others and Kevin Dick kicked three goals.
1991: Leeds recorded a remarkable 19-0 win over Wigan at Central Park on November 3. Phil Ford (2) and John Bentley were the try scorers, Simon Irving kicked three goals and Garry Schofield added a one-pointer.
Leeds Rhinos hooker Matt Parcell turns 26 tomorrow.