Leeds Rhinos inspired by legend Rob Burrow in Magic Weekend triumph

Drew Darbyshire
Rob Burrow with family at Magic Weekend SWpix

Rob Burrow with wife Lindsey and daughters Macy & Maya at Magic Weekend | Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Leeds coach Rohan Smith said he felt proud that he side got to celebrate their Magic Weekend victory over Castleford with Rob Burrow and his family.

The Rhinos and Tigers both played in Rob Burrow-inspired kits at St James’ Park on Saturday, with Smith’s side finishing 34-20 winners.

Burrow’s daughters Macy and Maya led the Rhinos out onto the field prior to the game. They explained to the players the reasons behind why they designed their special shirt for the occasion – to raise awareness and funds for their father’s motor neurone disease campaign.

Speaking after the game, Smith said: “It meant a lot to the whole club. We spoke about it a couple of times in the week without trying to make it too emotional.

“We had the pleasure of the family coming to speak to the players before the game. His beautiful little girls talking about the making of the jersey; and the design was very special for all of us. I hope we’ve done the family proud today.”


Rohan Smith honoured to share Magic moment with Rob Burrow

He continued: “His story has been well shared in the NRL and in rugby league circles in Australia. Pretty much everyone is understanding of his situation and is aware of how many people it impacts.

“To see such a great player of our time struggling is tough for everyone. I listened to his audio book in my first couple of weeks here. It was great to get a picture of what that era of the club sounded like from a spirit point of view. It sounded like Rob was the one driving all of that stuff. It’s nice to be a small part of the club celebrating him today.

“The club take such great care of him and are always helpful to him. As a playing group we wanted to share the day with him. The story of the jersey was the appropriate way to go, and the girls delivered the message perfectly.”

Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019 – just two years after he hung up his boots on an illustrious playing career.

The 39-year-old won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups, three League Leaders’ Shields and three World Club Challenges with Leeds. He won 20 caps in total for Great Britain and England.

PODCAST: Paul McShane on play-off goals, England & Love Island

LOVE RL: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League podcast and mobile app