Luke Gale reveals who asked him to make Leeds Rhinos return against Kiwis as he speaks on ban that denied him Headingley farewell

Luke Gale had a brilliant but brief Leeds Rhinos career.

He captained the side to the Challenge Cup Final where he lifted the trophy after he was man of the match in the semi-final against Wigan Warriors.

Gale also proved the match winner in the final against Salford Red Devils with a decisive drop goal and that was the same on plenty of occasions including in a famous comeback against Huddersfield Giants.

However, injury meant he never got the real farewell the former Leeds youngster deserved.

That said, it nearly came about when Gale was asked to play for Leeds in a friendly against New Zealand as the Kiwis prepared for the Rugby League World Cup only for the RFL to uphold a one-match ban picked up in Super League and deny him the chance of playing in a Leeds shirt one last time.

Speaking on the brilliant Full 80 Minutes Podcast, Gale revealed the inside story of what happened that week, who invited him to play for the Rhinos, the situation with his ban and his thoughts on New Zealand.

He said: “I was meant to play in that Leeds game, Gary Hetherington rang me I think the Tuesday or Wednesday. He said, ‘Luke I want you to play.’ In fact, he said ‘Are you fit, what are you doing?’

“‘I’m doing some work on the house Gary, but I can get my boots on.’ He invites me to train and play with Leeds against the Kiwis, I thought I’ve been knocked out for the last few weeks, let’s go see the lads and get my boots on.

“What transpired is I got a one-game ban and the RFL upheld it in what was a bit of an exhibition game.

“I trained with Leeds for three to four days and it was brilliant, then I watched the Kiwis and I was glad I was sat in the stands. They were fantastic. It was tough on Leeds, they’d just got to a Grand Final and been on their holidays.

“I thought they were a serious team [the Kiwis] but I haven’t quite seen that through the tournament.”

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