LEEDS RHINOS star Carl Ablett says he cannot wait to “renew old rivalries” after it was announced Bradford Bulls would be the opponents in his testimonial game.
The England international, who debuted for Leeds in 2004, is the only player to feature in every game of last season’s record-breaking treble success.
His benefit match will now see them face Championship club Bradford - big challengers with the Rhinos for silverware during Ablett’s early days - at Headingley on Sunday January 24, (3pm).
“I’d like to thank Marc Green, Robbie Hunter-Paul, James Lowes and the Bulls players for agreeing to come over to Headingley Carnegie for my testimonial,” said the Leeds-born player, who turns 30 next week and has won six Grand Finals with the club.
“As a Leeds fan growing up, the game against the Bulls was always the highlight of the year.
“It is unfortunate that the derby has left Super League for now but this will be a great chance to renew old rivalries and friendships.
“We have got a number of new faces in our squad and this will be a great chance for fans to see them in action before the start of the new season which starts just 11 days later.”
The two sides met just once this year, in Jamie Peacock’s testimonial game when a crowd of more than 10,000 turned out.
Bradford chief executive Hunter-Paul, who of course was a star for the Bulls in their halcyon Super League days, added: “All Bulls supporters understand the emotion between Bradford and Leeds.
“For over a decade in the Super League the match-up between the sport’s two giants was a spectacle to watch and one of the most eagerly anticipated games in the Super League calendar.
“I love that over the last two years we still have the enjoyment of travelling to Headingley despite being in the Championship.
“Anytime a player shows the dedication to stick with a club for over ten years shows a level of loyalty that is sadly now rarely seen in professional sports.
“I had the pleasure of playing against Carl when he was a youngster and his talent was evident at an early age.
“He has been a stalwart for the Rhinos and I wish him all the best for his testimonial journey.”
Ground tickets start from £15 for adults while juniors can get a seat or standing ticket for just £5 for this game.
Tickets can be purchased by coming down to the Leeds Rugby Store at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, by calling 0371 423 1315 or online at www.therhinos.co.uk/buytickets from Monday December 14 at 9am.