Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos are to be honoured by their home city by being given the prestigious Leeds Award. The Headingley Carnegie club has been nominated for its active role in the local community as well as the on-field success which has seen them win five of the last six Grand Finals and also been crowned World Club Champions three times in the last eight years.
The award will be presented on the Headingley Carnegie pitch prior to Mondays Super League clash with Widnes Vikings. The Lord Mayor and Chief Executive of Leeds City Council will present the award to Club President Harry Jepson OBE, Chief Executive Gary Hetherington, Head Coach Brian McDermott, captain Kevin Sinfield and former players Keith Senior and Barrie McDermott who were instrumental across the past decade.
Leeds Rhinos will be the first team ever to win the Leeds Award, which recognises those ‘that bring great credit to the city through their exceptional hard work and dedication’. The nomination recognises the role the club plays in the local community via their charity, Leeds Rugby Foundation, supporting a wide range of events, activities and projects across the city with the players acting as role models and ambassadors in particular encouraging young people in Leeds to develop their talents. An example of this is Leeds City Council’s Child Friendly Leeds initiative, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future. Leeds Rhinos are backing the initiative, with Great Britain and England international Danny McGuire recently becoming an official ambassador.
The award also reflects the spectacular on-field success the Rhinos have enjoyed over the last 10 years, which has seen them become the dominant force in British rugby league as well as world champions three times, while they have also reached the Challenge Cup Final five times in that period. This success has seen the profile and reputation of the club and the city raised both in the UK and all over the world, with the award also being a recognition of that impact. Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: “We're delighted to be the first team to have this wonderful award bestowed on us and it recognises the pride everyone connected with the Rhinos has for Leeds.” Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “Leeds Rhinos are an amazing success story for Leeds in so many ways, but one element of their work which is perhaps not fully recognised is the invaluable role they play in the local community. “The support they provide to a huge range of events and activities and in particular encouraging young people to lead active, healthy lives is fantastic. That willingness to get involved in day-to-day life in Leeds along with their superb achievements on the field means the Leeds Award is richly deserved and reflects the immense pride the city feels towards the Rhinos.”
Councillor Andrew Carter, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “As a team and as individuals the Leeds Rhinos have brought great credit and excellent publicity to the city. Over the past few years their sporting achievements have been formidable. I am delighted to support their nomination for the Leeds Award.” Councillor Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “Leeds Rhinos are not only sporting ambassadors for the city, but through their philosophy of investing in the community they have inspired others to achieve more, particularly through their personal development. The nomination for the Leeds Award is well deserved and I’m glad to be able to offer my support.”