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“There’s only one Rob Burrow” – Fans unite for Rugby League legend

Rob Burrow

Last night marked some of the most emotional scenes that a sports event will ever see as those at Headingley paid tribute to and celebrated the life of Rob Burrow.

Burrow succumbed to his battle with Motor Neurone Disease on June 2nd and last night’s game between Leeds Rhinos and Leigh Leopards marked the first time that Burrow’s former side had played at Headingley since his passing.

It was a game scheduled to be played on Global MND Awareness Day anyway but the passing of Rob Burrow made the event even more poignant as 17,535 fans turned up to honour and celebrate one of rugby league’s legendary figures.

Sky Sports put on a wonderful tribute with testimony from many of those close to Rob Burrow and those involved in his life. They included the likes of Bob Pickles, the man who scouted Burrow, club historian Phil Caplan, ex-players such as Danny Buderus, fellow sports stars such as Alan Shearer and even Rob’s father Geoff.

Last night was an event that summed up why rugby league is the best sport there is. We love our heroes, we appreciate their sacrifices and we honour them when the time comes.

It wasn’t just an emotional night for those in the ground at Headingley but also for those watching from afar and social media has been a reflection of that with plenty of plaudits for the Sky Sports team, the clubs and the event in general.

QUIZ: Can you name these 10 former Leeds Rhinos players?

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Rugby League celebrates Rob Burrow

On such an occasion the score was almost irrelevant given that the night was simply about honouring Rob Burrow, however, Leeds Rhinos ensured that they wouldn’t take the gloss of the evening as they put in a season-best performance to beat Leigh 18-10.

It was fitting that the Rhinos managed to put it together and win on such a special night and that was noted by former Huddersfield Giants player and coach Chris Thorman who praised the players for their inspired performance.

Thorman posted: “What a beautiful tribute to Rob Burrow this evening has been. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever cheered for Leeds – fair play to them though. RIP, Rob.”

Former Leigh player and current Salford star Ryan Brierley also praised the club: “Outstanding tribute for Rob Burrow and his family, Leeds Rhinos have done him so proud and I’m glad they got the win for him.”

It wasn’t just about the rugby though as another fan noted, posting: “Also, rugby aside, I’m very proud to be a Leeds fan tonight. Very proud of our club, was a magnificent celebration of RB7 life. Sad, poignant, respectful and glorious.”

The coverage was labelled as ” the greatest build-up to a rugby league game this country has ever seen” by another fan, whilst another called it “the best tribute I have ever seen”.

Perhaps what highlights the amazing reach that Rob Burrow had though was a tweet from one social media user who wasn’t a rugby league fan, indicating just how Burrow transcended our sport and inspired a nation.

“Absolute heart of stone if this doesn’t get to you and I’m not even a rugby league fan,” they posted in response to footage of the post-match scenes.

As is best with a piece collating the memories and tributes of a wonderful night, we’ll leave it to Rob Burrow himself and his inspiring and immortal final words.

“In a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.”

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