Rugby League legend Rob Burrow has announced that he will retire from the sport at the end of the season. The Leeds Rhino hooker has been one of the most prominent figures in the sport and despite his diminutive figure he has forged not only a career but a legacy.
Burrow spent his entire career at Leeds Rhinos appearing 486 times in a career that started all the way back in 2001. That seems so recent! But times have flown by and his time on the pitches of Rugby League has been instrumental for the sport.
With just Leeds he has won a treasure trove of trophies. Seven Super League titles, three World Club Championships and two Challenge Cups. He was the cornerstone of the dominance of the Rhinos in the noughties and became he key man in their triumphs.
It is not just in Leeds he has shown his skills but with an England side has graced the pitch 15 times and five for Great Britain.
While I am a dirty southerner I hold my hands up to not being as in the know about Rugby League in my lifetime but one thing I never avoided was the Leeds Rhinos and watching Rob Burrow lead the team.
I used to love watching his game and ability to control the pace of a match with his passing and also completely throwing it into chaos by finding the gaps and bursting through so many defensive lines over the years.
He has been vital in making the game more accessible to those who might not have watched it before and Rugby League will be looking for more super star names to follow in his footsteps to make sure the momentum is not lost.
Rob Burrows will never be lost to the hardcore fans though as the memories of his tries and cup wins will win long in the lives of Rhino fans and more stingingly in their rivals. I love loyalty in sport and while Rhinos were obviously without man peers Burrows did manage to avoid any tempting from other teams in the UK or indeed across the world. Spending his entire career with Leeds has opened up the new opportunities he wants to now undertake.
Burrows is going to move into coaching with Leeds a ready made club open to him with welcoming arms. He will be under the tutelage of Brian McDermott who couldn’t help but heap praise on the man after the announcement “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.”
I will give Rob the last words but from me and all other sports fans across he UK. Thanks for your service. “I want to go out on my terms; I never wanted to carry on playing just to pick up a shirt and not be involved in the games,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “I always wanted to go out on a high and I think now is the right time to move on with the next chapter.”