Leeds Rhinos have announced that they will play two games at Elland Road in 2018 against Hull Kingston Rovers and Castleford Tigers.
The game will see Rhinos legend Danny McGuire return to Leeds with his new Hull KR side in the second round of the season and the Leeds club have set their sights on breaking an attendance record for a home Super League fixture, as they hope to better the 23,035 figure that was set at Headingley back in 2003 against Bradford Bulls.
The Super League champions will play their second game at Elland Road, home of Leeds United FC, on Friday 23 March for the Grand Final re-match against Castleford Tigers in round seven. There are no domestic football matches that weekend due to the internationals taking place and the Leeds club believe that this would be a unique opportunity to grow Rugby League in the City.
Leeds will start their season with a trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium as they face Warrington Wolves on Thursday 1 February before the big game against the Robins at Elland Road a week later.
The Rhinos’ first game back at the Emerald Headingley Stadium will be on Friday 2 March against Catalans Dragons.
Leeds have experience of playing at Elland Road in the past, having played World Club Challenge matches at the 37,890-capacity stadium in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010 but have not played there since.
On the announcement, Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are delighted to be able to announce these two showcase events for Leeds Rhinos and Rugby League at Elland Road.
“Under the leadership of chairman Andrea Radrizzani we have been able to work closely with Leeds United on projects that will benefit both clubs but most importantly benefit our home city here in Leeds. This is a win-win situation for both clubs. As owners of Elland Road, Leeds United know, as we do ourselves, how it is important to generate income from the stadium by hosting a variety of events and we will be hoping to bring large numbers to both these games.
“For ourselves, we recognised that we have a duty to try and expand the game of Rugby League by creating bigger events for our own supporters and the wider public to enjoy. These two games at Elland Road will be fantastic occasions and our aim is to break the Super League regular season attendance record with these events. Because of the redevelopment work at our home this season, it limits our ability to reach out to new supporters and these games are a perfect opportunity to do just that through our work in the community with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.
“I am sure Danny McGuire wil get a tremendous reception on his return to the city for the Hull KR clash and our first meeting of next season against Castleford will be eagerly anticipated. The reaction the players received t the recent home game against Reading was fantastic to see and I am confident there will be plenty of people keen to see them in action. By moving these games to Elland Road, we will also be able to offer extra capacity to Hull KR and Castleford fans, who traditionally travel in large numbers for their games against the Rhinos.”