Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has announced this season will be the last of his career and he will retire at the end of the current Betfred Super League season.
Burrow, 34, has played all of his career with the Rhinos and has won every honour with the club as part of the golden generation. He will take up a new role within the club from next season in the player performance department working with the club’s youth and talent development programme.
Rob rose through the club’s Academy ranks to make his debut in 2001 in Dean Lance’s final game in charge of the team. In 2007 Rob won the club’s Player of the Year and the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match in the Grand Final, before going onto perform at the highest level for Great Britain in the Test series against New Zealand where he was named Player of the Tournament.
His performance in the 2011 Super League Grand Final will be remembered as one of the greatest ever seen. Coming off the bench, he scored a superb try to set the Rhinos on their way to an unbelievable victory. He won his second Harry Sunderland award in the match, a unanimous decision, picking up 100% of the votes. In total he has appeared in 22 Finals for the club, winning seven Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges, three League Leaders Shields and two Challenge Cups.
He has made a remarkable 486 appearances for Leeds, making him fifth in the all time list of appearances for the club behind John Holmes (625), Fred Webster (543), Kevin Sinfield (521) and John Atkinson (518) and just ahead of David Ward (482).
Commenting on the announcement Burrow said, “It has been an honour to play for Leeds my entire career and I feel now is the right time to move onto the next chapter in my career. I have been part of so many fantastic memories down the years and hopefully we can create a few more in the months ahead before I hang up my boots. Player development is something that has always interested me having worked with the scholarship for many years earlier in my career and seen players like Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe and Ashton Golding come through from being schoolboys to first team players. Hopefully I can pass on my experience and love of the club to the next generation in my new role.”
Head Coach Brian McDermott added, “Rob will be remembered as one of the greats of our game, not just in the Super League era but throughout the history of the sport. He is someone who never gave into the doubts of others early in his career and has continued to strive for excellence ever since. His role within the team has changed over the past fifteen years but his selfless attitude has meant he has always put the needs of the team ahead of his own preferences and has collected a host of silverware in return.
“Rob is one of the most popular members of our squad and I am delighted he will still be in and around the training ground next season after retirement. Just as Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and most recently Danny McGuire, have forged their own paths post rugby, they always know that there is a place for them at the Rhinos. Away from the field, Rob and Danny have been exemplary professionals and ambassadors for our club and it is fitting that they will both bow out together this year,” added McDermott.
Chief Executive Gary Hetherington echoed those sentiments, he added, “Rob has made a massive contribution to our club both on and off the field. He is a very special player who will be remembered for years to come. His diminutive stature has marked him out as an inspirational figure to all who watch the game. I am delighted he will remain at the club to pass on his enthusiasm to the next generation of players.”