Fans will be asked to contribute to the £100,000 cost of the statue, which will honours two sporting greats for all their good work on and off the pitch
Two of the finest rugby league players of their generation are set to be honoured by the club they served so faithfully in the form of a new statue.
Leeds Rhinos have unveiled their plan to honour club legends Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow with a monument at their Headingley stadium.
They won 12 finals together playing in the blue and yellow of Leeds, contributing to an extraordinary period of success for the club.
Sinfield retired from rugby league on a high by captaining the Rhinos to victory in the 2015 Super League Grand Final, while Burrow decided to hang up his boots two years later.
The latter was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in later 2019, and Sinfield has been an important fundraiser and friend for his former teammate since.
Announcing the plan, Leeds Rhinos said: “The pair played in twelve winning finals together during a glorious period in the club’s history but the moment chosen does not feature a trophy or even a rugby ball.
“Instead, it is from the historic fundraising match held at Emerald Headingley in January 2020, just weeks after Burrow had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
“The image shows two friends and team mates supporting each other in the toughest moment and is a tribute to the golden generation of players who grew up together and made history together on the field but also forged bonds that will last a lifetime.”
The plan is for the new statue to be placed in a corner of the ground in a way so that they are looking down on the pitch upon which they created their legacies.
The club needs to raise £100,000 to make the idea a reality, and are calling on fans to get involved in funding the new statue.
Potential ideas have been created by sculptor Steve Winterburn, though the final design is not yet set in stone.
Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com)
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “I think Rob and Kevin perfectly encapsulate everything we hold special about the sport of Rugby League and their records on the field alone would merit a statue here at Emerald Headingley.
“However, they have both transcended not just Rugby League but sport to become national figures because of Rob’s battle with MND and Kevin’s unstinting support of his friend. They were part of a special group of players and this statue acknowledges that bond.
“We were proud to unveil the first statue in the 130 years of Emerald Headingley earlier this year with the John Holmes statue and I am sure this too will become an iconic and artistic addition of our wonderful home.”
Leeds Rhinos Foundation chief operating officer Bob Bowman added: “As we saw with the John Holmes statue, it is fantastic to have this opportunity to bring another piece of public art to Emerald Headingley Stadium.
“Kevin and Rob are such inspirational figures for young and old supporters and I am sure many will be keen to show their support for the campaign.”