Leeds Rhinos v Hull: Fans urged to arrive early for Headingley reopening

Leeds Rhinos Head of Customer Experience Sian Jones in front of the new temporary stand at Emerald Headingley ready for this Friday's match against Catalans Dragons.'28th February 2017.
Leeds Rhinos Head of Customer Experience Sian Jones in front of the new temporary stand at Emerald Headingley ready for this Friday's match against Catalans Dragons.'28th February 2017.
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Fans have been urged to arrived early for Leeds Rhinos’ homecoming on Thursday.

The Betfred Super League clash with Hull will be Rhinos’ first at Emerald Headingley since they beat the same opposition in a play-offs semi-final last September.

Last week’s scheduled visit of Catalans Dragons was postponed due to snow so Thursday will mark the partial opening of the new South Stand and the debut of the temporary North Stand.

Rhinos’ head of customer experience Sian Jones said: “Ever since the final home game of last season we have been preparing for Thursday night and making sure everything has been done to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

“We had a bit of a false start last week when the Catalans game was called off because of the snow, but we are ready to go and looking forward to opening the doors on Thursday.”

She added: “This is the biggest construction exercise at the stadium since it first opened way back in 1890 so there has been painstaking plans put in place to try and think through of every eventuality

“The fans can help us massively if they arrive early, especially those going into the new North Stand.

“Naturally fans will need to find their new seats and get used to their new surroundings and if people leave that until just before kick off, it will lead to congestion and potentially them missing the start of the game.

“We will have lots of staff on hand to help out and point them in the right direction and we are confident the night will go well and we can cheer the boys on to a win.”

More than 2,000 fans will watch Thursday’s match from the new South Stand with another 2,500 in the temporary North Stand erected while construction continues on the new permanent structure.

Steve Pitts, project manager at lead contractor Caddick Construction, said: “Fans at the match on Thursday will notice that the South Stand is well on its way.

“By the end of the season it will be fully completed and fitted inside and out.

“Meanwhile we began erecting the steel frame on the new, permanent North Stand last week so throughout the season fans will see that take shape week by week.”

Pitts, a Castleford Tigers fan, added: “I’ll be here on Thursday purely to observe from a safety point of view and ensure the construction site remains secure.

“However there is certainly a number of Rhinos supporters working on the site and I know plenty of them will be cheering from the sidelines.” added Pitts.To date, the construction of the South Stand has seen the installation of 700 tonnes of steel and the placement of 1,200 individual pre-cast concrete units.

At the North Stand more than 2,300 tonnes of concrete have been poured into the foundations, and 1,200 tonnes of steel will be erected over the coming months.

Turnstiles will open at 5.30pm with fans able to enjoy a whole host of new entertainment on ‘Amber Avenue’ – the stretch from the Kirkstall Lane turnstiles to the West Terrace and temporary North Stand, underneath the White Rose cricket stand.

Standing places in the Carnegie Terrace and a limited number of seating tickets are still available for Thursday’s game.

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