The 1996 Super League season, the inaugural one no less, was perhaps the worst in Leeds Rhinos’ history.
Despite the fact they have flirted with relegation in 2016, 2018, 2019 and even this year prior to an amazing run to the Grand Final, the 1996 season was the closest they’ve come to the dreaded drop.
They finished 10th which is their worst ever Super League finish alongside 2018, but it could have been worse for the Rhinos if it wasn’t for players like the Gibbons twins who played an integral role in fending off relegation and subsequently teeing up the Rhinos’ success in the decades after.
Anthony and David Gibbons were essential members of the Leeds back division with Anthony at centre and David often at stand-off or fullback.
The two went on to spend time at Oldham, Batley and Hunslet.
During the 1996 season, Anthony played 16 games and scored three tries whilst David played seven Super League games scoring twice.
But their legacy at the club didn’t end there. The two have formed the backbone of Leeds Rhinos pioneering women’s team.
They joined Leeds treble winner Adam Cuthbertson on the coaching staff in 2018 and in their first ever season they were 80 minutes away from the treble after finishing top and winning the Challenge Cup Final against Castleford Tigers.
The Gibbons twins stayed on in 2019 helping the club to another double this time the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final both at the expense of league leaders Castleford.
As Cuthbertson left for pastures new, they remains as Lois Forsell stayed on and in 2022 the Rhinos won the Grand Final a second time.
However, that Grand Final success will now be their last game as they leave the club.
The legacy of the two at Headingley remains however with Joe Gibbons, David’s son and Anthony’s nephew, being awarded the number 33 shirt for the 2023 Super League season.