All-time Best Super League XIII: Leeds Rhinos

In this series, we put together the ultimate Super League starting 13’s for each club that has seen at least five seasons in the competition.

Today it’s the turn of Leeds Rhinos, so here’s who we think would make their ultimate Super League XIII…

1. Brent Webb

Webb arrived at Headingley in 2007 on the back of an impressive Tri-Nations series for New Zealand. He was renowned for his support play and ability to chime into the attacking line, and proved a vital part of the Rhinos’ side during his six years at the club. He won three Super League Grand Finals and two World Club Challenges, making a total of 155 appearances, scoring 89 tries.

Notable mentions: Gary Connolly, Richard Mathers, Zak Hardaker, Francis Cummins

2. Scott Donald

Arguably Donald’s standout moment for the Rhinos was his try in the 2007 Grand Final win, where he stood up St Helens fullback Paul Wellens before beating him for pace down the left wing. That was one of 92 tries Donald scored for the Rhinos in his 143 games, many of which were assisted by Keith Senior, with whom he developed a fruitful partnership on the left edge. The Australian returned down under in 2010, where he’s now a police officer.

Notable mentions: Mark Calderwood, Paul Sterling, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tom Briscoe

3. Kallum Watkins

Kallum Watkins. Credit: Craig Milner/News Image

On his day, there’s no doubt that Watkins is one of the most devastating centres in the world. Before his serious knee injury in 2018, the 29-year-old had spent 10 years strutting his stuff for the Rhinos, bamboozling defences with his impressive footwork and racking up 122 tries in 219 games. During that time, he played a huge part in six Super League title wins, two Challenge Cup victories and a World Club Challenge triumph. It’s a true shame that he’s been unable to fully recover from his injury, which has seen him undersell himself somewhat during his 10-month stint in the NRL, however it’s hoped he will soon return to his best after signing with Toronto.

Notable mentions: Chev Walker, Tonie Carroll, Richie Blackmore

4. Keith Senior

Senior signed from Sheffield Eagles in 1999 and would soon become one of the best pieces of business the club would ever do. He was a once in a generation player, possessing the size and strength of a forward, but being agile and pacy enough to play in the outside backs. In his 13 years with Leeds, he scored 171 tries in over 350 games and set up countless others, while also winning several trophies along the way.

Notable mentions: Brad Godden, Joel Moon, Konrad Hurrell

5. Ryan Hall

Hall was a late bloomer, having only being signed as a 19-year-old after years in the amateur game with Oulton Raiders. He made his senior debut just a year later and was soon a first-team regular, commanding a starting spot out wide. He is the club’s second-most prolific try-scorer, notching a remarkable 232 in 328 games and a further 36 in 38 for England. He won six Super League titles, scoring in three of the Grand Finals, as well as two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge.

Notable mentions: Marcus Bai, Lee Smith, Graham Mackay, Ash Handley

6. Danny McGuire

Danny McGuire. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

With McGuire being Super League’s all-time top try-scorer, the stand-off position picks itself. Renowned for his exceptional support play and technical ability, McGuire was a constant threat in the Leeds side during his 17 years at the club. His final try total stood at an extraordinary 267 in 426 games, while he also won eight Super League titles, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups.

Notable mentions: Daryl Powell, Iestyn Harris, Graham Holroyd

7. Rob Burrow

Throughout their careers at Leeds, it was rare you had McGuire and didn’t have Burrow. The ‘pocket rocket’ made up the other 50% of arguably the best halves partnership Super League has ever seen, packing a huge punch despite his small stature. Burrow was the perfect example that size isn’t everything and often used his low centre of gravity to his advantage, tormenting opposition forward packs with his acceleration and quick footwork. He too was a potent try-scorer, notching 196 in just under 500 games.

Rob Burrow. Credit: News Images

Notable mentions: Ryan Sheridan

8. Barrie McDermott

McDermott just pips Kylie Leuluai to the first prop spot. The Oldham-born enforcer won over Rhinos fans with his no-nonsense attitude and barnstorming running, with the chant ‘Barrie’s gonna get you’ often heard ringing around Headingley. In 11 years at the club, McDermott made over 250 appearances, including the 2004 Grand Final win, and earned Great Britain and Ireland honours throughout that time.

Notable mentions: Kylie Leuluai, Darren Fleary, Martin Masella

9. Danny Buderus

There was plenty of competition in this position but Buderus oozed sheer quality from the moment he stepped foot on the Headingley turf. A former Australian international and New South Wales Origin representative, his signing in 2009 was similar to that of Sonny Bill Williams or James Maloney now – he was marquee and the deal stunned everyone. Leeds’ team was already packed with experience but Buderus simply added to that, rotating with Matt Diskin and helping to nurture several of the club’s youngsters, including Watkins, Hall and Paul McShane. He stayed in West Yorkshire for three years, winning two Super League titles before departing for two swansong seasons with Newcastle Knights.

Notable mentions: Matt Diskin, Terry Newton, Andrew Dunemann

10. Jamie Peacock

Arguably the best player of the Super League era, Peacock’s trophy haul speaks for itself. In his ten years at Leeds, he won six Super League titles, two Challenge Cups, two World Club Challenges, two League Leaders Shields and was named in the Super League Dream Team six times. He was one of several leaders in the Rhinos’ squad and contributed massively to their success over the past 15 years.

Notable mentions: Ryan Bailey, Jamie Mathiou

11. Jamie Jones-Buchanan

One of Leeds’ all-time fan-favourites, Jones-Buchanan spent 21 years at the Rhinos, demonstrating sheer grit and passion in every game he played. Born and bred in Bramley, you’ll do well to find a prouder Yorkshireman than JJB who, as a lifelong Leeds fan, constantly wore his heart on his sleeve and developed a special connection with the Rhinos faithful. The tough back rower made a total of 412 appearances for his hometown club, scoring 77 tries.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Credit: News Images

Notable mentions: Adrian Morley, Ali Lauitiiti, Dave Furner, Brett Delaney, Andy Hay

12. Gareth Ellis

Ellis wasn’t at Leeds for the same number of years as most of the players on this list but his impact was just as profound. He arrived at Headingley from Wakefield as a promising 24-year-old, having recently made his Great Britain debut, and instantly shot to stardom, impressing with his line running and offloading ability. He went on to make over 120 appearances for the Rhinos, winning Super League and World Club Challenge honours along the way, before jetting off to join Wests Tigers in the NRL with whom he had more success, winning the club’s Player of the Year award for three years running.

Notable mentions: Willie Poching, Matt Adamson, Carl Ablett, Anthony Farrell

13. Kevin Sinfield

Sinfield is Super League’s most successful captain, leading the Rhinos to countless honours, including seven Super League titles and two Challenge Cup trophies. He was never the strongest, nor the fastest, or even the most skilful player, but always led from the front and encompassed everything a modern-day professional player should be. He’s currently Super League’s all-time top point scorer, after finishing his career with 3,443 points in over 500 games for the club.

Notable mentions: Marc Glanville

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