Leeds to face Bradford in Diskin testimonial

There is nothing usually friendly when Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls clash on the rugby field however the club’s will face each other this pre-season as part of Matt Diskin‘s testimonial with the engage Super League Champions.

The game will take place on Sunday 17th January, kick off 2.30pm, at Headingley Carnegie Stadium with all proceeds going to Diskin’s testimonial fund.

Diskin is celebrating ten years as a professional with the Rhinos and the local derby with the Bulls will kick off a year long celebration of his career with the club.

Commenting on the announcement, Diskin, 27, said, “I am delighted that the Club and the RFL have granted me a Testimonial and my aim is to stage a series of events for the Rhinos fans to enjoy throughout 2010.

“A Rhinos versus Bulls local derby is a mouth watering opening to the year-long celebrations and I am grateful to the Bradford Bulls Chairman Peter Hood and Head Coach Steve McNamara for accepting the invitation to provide the opposition for my big day.

“The match will be full blooded as it is the main preparation game for both clubs, with star overseas players making their respective club debuts a fortnight before the season starts,” added Diskin.

Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McClennan added, “I am delighted that Disko has been granted a testimonial. He is an outstanding club man who believes passionately in what the Rhinos are all about. The Bradford game will be a tough test for us ahead of the start of the season and we will be taking it very seriously especially with the Carnegie World Club Challenge just over a month later.”

Bradford Bulls Head Coach Steve McNamara added, “We are delighted to be able to support a local player who has given outstanding service to the game and his club. It will be an opportunity ahead of the new season to test ourselves against quality opposition.”

Tickets for the game will start from just £15 for adults standing, £10 for concessions and £5 for juniors. Tickets will go on Monday 14th December from the Headingley Carnegie and Grattan Stadium, Odsal ticket office.

The Great Britain and England hooker was granted by the RFL for his loyal and dedicated service to Leeds Rhinos since signing professional forms in December 1999.

A product of Dewsbury Moor amateur club, the world-class hooker made his first team debut in 2001 as an 18-year-old, clocking up a creditable 17 appearances.

Disko has gone on to amass more than 230 appearances for the Rhinos, fast approaching his half century of touchdowns.

His personal achievements during a high profile career feature a Great Britain Test cap, captaincy of England and winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy as Man of the Match in the 2004 Grand Final at Manchester United’s Old Trafford, the year in which he was named Rhinos Player of the Year.

A four-man voluntary Testimonial Committee is steering the year-long celebrations. Chairman is Glen Crosthwaite, Managing Director of Leeds-based Network Securities UK, Vice-Chairman being Jon Gale, the company’s Executive Director.

Secretary/Treasurer is Andrew Thornton, of Otley-based Tax Assist Accountants. Completing the quartet is John Hill, Managing Director of the famous Frontier Club in Batley and formerly General Manager of Headingley Experience catering operation at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Mr Crosthwaite said, “As a longstanding Rhinos sponsor and supporter, it is obvious that Disko has earned the respect and affection of the massive Rhinos support base.

“His playing ability has peaked with international recognition and individual trophies and he continues to be a highly valuable member of the most successful team in the modern era.

“He showed his mental strength and commitment to the Club by battling back from a knee reconstruction throughout the 2005 season.

“Disko has asked his Committee to plan a varied programme of events at a budget cost to reflect the current economic climate.

“His popularity on and off the field is reflected by the willingness of arch rivals Bradford Bulls to provide the opposition for his Testimonial Match in mid-January.”

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