THEY ARE big pals who have known each other for decades but Jamie Jones-Buchanan has recalled how he almost came to blows with Danny McGuire on the pitch while playing together for Leeds Rhinos.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of gnarled back-row Jones-Buchanan becoming a Super League player, the start of a glorious career that has seen vast hordes of silverware won.
The former Great Britain international – now approaching his 38th birthday – is the last remaining member of the famous ‘Golden Generation’ of homegrown stars that went on to dominate the summer era for Leeds.
Prolific McGuire, of course, was one, too, but is now plying his trade with Hull KR.
Jones-Buchanan made his debut for hometown Leeds in a home win against Wakefield Trinity on May 7 1999, just a few days after Rhinos won the Challenge Cup for the first time in 21 years in the last final at the old Wembley.
Over the years, he has become renowned as not only one of the sport’s most durable players but one of its greatest characters as well.
An obvious question would be about his best game during his 419 Rhinos appearances or finest achievement in that time.
More of that later. But what about the funniest moment he has encountered during all that blue and amber haze?
“I have had some interesting moments in my career,” said Jones-Buchanan, who has won seven Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup and three World Club Challenges.
“I once had a fight with Danny Mags at Hull KR, ironically.
I once had a fight with Danny Mags at Hull KR, ironically.Jamie Jones-Buchanan
“Jamie Peacock, as he always did, monopolised all the ball and I said ‘will somebody just give me a pass’. So Maggsy said, dead serious, ‘come with me, I’ll give you the ball next time we get it’.
“He gets to dummy-half and I’m running as hard as I can. And he dummies me and gives it to Peacock ...
“So I’ve gone up to him face to face … ‘what are you ****ing doing, what are you playing at …?!’ Then I pushed him. He said ‘don’t push me!’.
“We’re arguing the toss for a full two sets of six to the point where Hull KR fans are all laughing at us as we weren’t concentrating on what was going on as we were that mad at each other!
“I was trying to work out where to hit him! Fuming. We laugh about it all now, though.”
In his early days at the club, Jones-Buchanan also worked in a Next warehouse – and admitted some of his co-workers refused to believe he was a Rhino.
“I was working there four hours a day as Gary (Hetherington) went through a period where he wanted us to get part-time jobs to experience the real world,” he recalled.
“Why?! Can’t I just play rugby like everyone else?!
“I remember telling some of the guys there that I played for Leeds. They said ‘if you play for Leeds, what are you working here for?!’ But then I played a game and I was on the back page of the (Yorkshire) Evening Post. I remember the guys seeing it and thinking ‘Yes! I told you I played for Leeds!’ I was so happy.
“I’ve actually seen some of those guys knocking about since and we always have a laugh about it. I was the man about town after that debut. I was so proud.
“When I first signed for Leeds I got a tracksuit and all I got was a pair of shorts, one T-shirt and a jumper.
“It had 66 on as a squad number and it wasn’t even Rhinos. It was the old Leeds RL badge and I went everywhere in that kit. Even the pub. They said the novelty would wear off but it never did!”
Jones-Buchanan concedes he never believed he would still be playing now and had long since started formulating alternative career plans with a difference.
“As a youngster, I’d never have thought it was technically possible to play this long,” he said. “In fact, I remember thinking in my early twenties that I’d probably be retired by the time we had the Olympics in 2012 ... and I was wondering what event I could do!
“I also had a recurring dream of being the first-ever Leeds United and Leeds RL player.”
In a way, the 2008 World Club Challenge win over Melbourne Storm at Elland Road gave him an idea of just what that might be like.
“I got this shot on (Steve) Turner, the winger, and ended him. He went off too, which made it even better! I’d have got banned for it now as it was technically a shoulder charge.
“The Revie Stand just erupted. It was like I’d scored a goal. That was the most exhilarating moment of my career.”
Retirement will finally arrive at the end of the season but undoubtedly this legendary player will forever be enshrined in Leeds folklore.