Leeds Rhinos: Legends relishing their ‘War of Roses’ showdown

Yorkshire's Jamie Peacock. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
Yorkshire's Jamie Peacock. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

SOME OF the greats of the Super League era will be putting their boots back on tomorrow when Headingley stages a Yorkshire versus Lancashire legends game in aid of Leeds Rhinos ace Ryan Hall’s testimonial (7pm).

Hall is coach of the Yorkshire side, which will be captained by former Rhinos hero Jamie Peacock, who is now head of rugby at Hull KR.

Lancashire's Adrian Morley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Lancashire's Adrian Morley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Lancashire’s captain is another ex-Leeds hero Adrian Morley – now Rhinos’ under-19s coach – and they are coached by Wigan Warriors’ England back Sam Tomkins.

A war of words has developed between the sides in the build-up to the game and Hall insisted neither will be holding back, despite their advancing years.

“It is full-contact, proper tackling,” Hall said.

“It was going to be 70 minutes, but it has evolved into 80 because we thought what’s the point of only doing 70?

“It’ll be good to see the old heads who’ve had their time in the game coming back to represent their county.

“Seeing as they can’t get a full Yorkshire-Lancashire game sorted out, we thought we’d do the next best thing.”

Hall added: “We have tried to go with a bit of a Leeds angle so there’s quite a few ex-Leeds players.

“As well as JP, Calders (Mark Calderwood) will be on the wing and Richie Mathers is going to play full-back.

“We’ve got Keith Senior and Chev Walker playing and Kylie Leuluai is an honorary Yorkshireman – he’s been here for 10 years so he qualifies.”

Others invited to line-up for the White Rose include Robbie Hunter-Paul, Danny Orr, Chris Thorman, and Lee Gilmour.

Hall added: “Lancashire have got a slightly older average age, but they are quality players.

“Along with Moz they’ve got the likes of Sean Long, Paul Wellens, Mick Cassidy, Denis Betts and Paul Wood – and Barrie McDermott will be putting a shirt on for them.

“It’s in aid of Martin Gleeson’s testimonial as well and he will be playing for Lancashire.”

Yorkshire’s squad have trained together ahead of the game and Hall said they are taking it seriously.

“We want to put on a show for the fans,” he stressed.

“Both game-plans – I’ve heard – are quite expansive, so it should be an entertaining game.

“We had a great training session the other day at Shaw Cross. I thought there’d be some aches and pains, but there was none of that – the lads really enjoyed it and they all had a smile on their face.”

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for over-65s, students and under-21s and £3 for 16-year-olds and under. Some of the proceeds will be donated to Rugby League Cares.

Hall said: “There’s going to be entertainment on beforehand, just like a Rhinos home game.

“There’ll be things to do for the kids and we’ve got a bird of prey sanctuary coming – so you can have your picture taken with a golden eagle!”

Current Rhinos players – who face Hull at Headingley on Thursday – will be at the game.

They will be taking on fans in a training challenge, hosted by Arla Protein, which starts at 5.30pm.

Supporters will have the opportunity to see if they can complete as many squats per minute and test their core strength against Rhinos’ full-time professionals.