Rob Burrow: How the Leeds Rhinos legend’s impact inspired simply astonishing 2017 Grand Final glory

Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos 2017 Grand Final SWpix

Danny McGuire (left) and Rob Burrow (right) with the Super League Grand Final trophy in 2017

The legendary Rob Burrow hung up his boots in 2017 after helping his beloved Leeds Rhinos win the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford.

It was Burrow’s eighth and final Grand Final triumph, which went alongside his two Challenge Cups, three World Club Challenges and three League Leaders’ Shields.

We’ve taken a look at how the former England international bowed out of his professional career by helping the Rhinos win at Old Trafford…

The 2016 season proved close to a disastrous one for Leeds Rhinos, with them finishing in ninth place and dropping into the Middle 8s.

They managed to secure their Super League status, a bizarre thing to cheer about considering they were treble winners just one year previous.

Bouncing back from the Middle 8s

In 2017, the Rhinos looked to bounce back and put the last year behind them, Liam Sutcliffe started the season in the stand-off position, with Danny McGuire out injured. Rob Burrow partnered him in his favoured number seven position.

Leeds lost their opening game of the season, as St Helens edged them out, winning 6-4 in Merseyside. 

The duo would continue as the half-back pairing the week after in a win over Leigh, before McGuire returned to the side. 

Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow turning back the clock

Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos 2017 SWpix Rob Burrow in action for Leeds Rhinos in 2017

It seemed as though the clocks had turned back by 15 years, with McGuire and Burrow back in the halves, and the duo led Leeds to a victory over Salford Red Devils, a result which encouraged the Headingley faithful. 

The enthusiasm was soon quashed one week later. 

Burrow pulled out of the clash with West Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers through illness, a night which the Rhinos would wish to forget. 

They were on the end of a 66-10 battering at Weldon Road, despite this, after the game head coach Brian McDermott claimed the Rhinos could still win the Grand Final that year.

The super sub

In the games that followed, Leeds saw an upturn in form, wining four in a row. In this period Burrow was moved back to hooker – usually off of the bench. 

The Rhinos’ steady form would continue, and Burrow would once again be used as an impact sub from the bench, the position which McDermott preferred to use him in.

A 40-0 win over Warrington Wolves saw Burrow produce a moment of magic late on, as he picked the ball up midway inside his own half, before scoring another sensational solo effort. 

Despite being used in multiple positions, Burrow looked to be on top of his game, embracing the changes to his role as the season progressed.

Rob Burrow: Announcing his retirement at the season’s end

However, on the 19th of July, Burrow dropped a bombshell, he would retire at the end of the season after 17 years as a professional.

The news came just after a week after Danny McGuire announced that he would be leaving the club.

The talk around the town that week was to send the duo out on a high by adding more silverware to their already impressive collection.

However, just a week later, Leeds were knocked out of the Challenge Cup, with Hull FC thrashing them in Doncaster. 

The Challenge Cup was always a trophy that McGuire and Burrow struggled to get their hands on, having won it twice in 15 attempts. 

Launching a surge for the Super League Grand Final

This trend continued, and the Rhinos focus turned to the Super League. 

Four games remained in the season, with Leeds pushing at the top end of the table, unlike the season previous. 

Burrow was used in the same role for the rest of the campaign and became a regular feature off of the interchange bench.

Leeds beat Huddersfield Giants in their final regular league game of the season, as Burrow crossed for a try in their 36-18 win.

The victory secured second place for the Rhinos, a remarkable achievement for a club who only one year ago were struggling at the bottom end of the table. 

Going out on a high

Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos 2017 Grand Final SWpix
Rob Burrow walks out at Old Trafford in the 2017 Grand Final

Burrow and McGuire were determined to go out on a high and only a home semi-final between them and Hull FC stood in between another appearance at Old Trafford.

Burrow started on the bench for the game, in which the Rhinos took an early lead. However, they didn’t have it their own way, with Hull coming back to take a lead into the final 20 minutes. 

For the final time in his career, Burrow would come off the bench as Leeds needed some inspiration to book their place in the Grand Final. 

Burrow, out of dummy-half drove the ball forward, nearly breaking through Hull’s defence, however they managed to stop him on the half-way line. 

But he had given Leeds some momentum, and they managed to capitalise on this, Liam Sutcliffe finished off a neat move to fire the Rhinos back in front. 

Leeds held on to their two-point lead and booked their return to Old Trafford after a year away. 

The perfect end to a glittering career for Rob Burrow

Rob Burrow Leeds Rhinos 2017 Grand Final Rob Burrow after his final game in 2017

One last game awaited for Burrow, and all eyes were on Old Trafford to see if he and his team-mate McGuire could go out on a high. 

Castleford Tigers were the opponents, the side based in Burrows hometown.

Burrow was named on the bench for the clash, as McDermott stuck with what had been his role since round three. 

However, not much of an impact from the side-line was needed, as Leeds dominated the game from the word go. 

Burrow came off the bench in the second half and stabbed a smart kick in which caused havoc for the Castleford defence.

The ball bounced around in the Tigers in goal area before McGuire managed to touch down to seal the win for the Rhinos.

It was Burrow’s eighth Super League win, and the perfect end to a glittering career. 

He and Danny McGuire both lifted the Super League trophy together, which drew the curtain down on one of the most iconic teams in rugby league history.

Burrow’s role during this season hadn’t been as crucial to the side as he had been in previous years, however his impact from the bench often provided the Rhinos with the cutting edge which they needed when games hung on a knife edge. 

He had been used as an impact substitute under Brian McDermott before, despite not agreeing with the decision, showing his willingness to do anything for his side. 

A fantastic career, ending in a fantastic way, in a final that illustrated Burrow at his finest.

The question is, would Leeds have won the 2017 Super League without Burrow in the side?

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