The Learning Disability Super League took centre stage at Super League’s Magic Weekend as teams from across the country took to the St James’ Park Pitch for a truly unforgettable experience.
On Saturday, a very excited Leeds Rhinos LDSL team stepped out onto the hallowed turf in Newcastle to showcase their skills during half time of the clash between Wigan Warriors and St Helens. They were given a huge cheer by the 30,000 fans in attendance, including the huge number of Rhinos supporters who had made the journey up to the North East for the evening’s game against Castleford Tigers.
For some players it was their first time playing in front of fans at a Super League game, but even for those who last played at Magic Weekend in 2019 it was the biggest crowd that they have ever appeared in front of, making it a moment to remember for the rest of their lives.
After a busy morning of playing in an LDSL festival against all the other clubs just outside the stadium, the teams lined up inside St James’ Park to take the 52,000-seater stadium by storm, with half the Rhinos LDSL team playing against Wakefield Trinity and the rest taking on Castleford Tigers in short exhibition matches.
Even in the sweltering heat, the Rhinos players were full of energy as they scored some great tries and lived out their sporting dreams whilst being roared on by the Rhinos fans housed in the Leazes Stand. Once the games had concluded the teams took part in a pitch parade, soaking in the applause as they made their way around the iconic stadium and received a huge applause from all those in attendance, even joining in with the chants of ‘Marching On Together’ coming from the Rhinos faithful.
Having done their bit on the field, it was time for the team to settle back into the stands and cheer on their Super League heroes, with the perfect end to a truly magical day provided by their beloved Rhinos defeating the Tigers 34-20 in the Betfred Super League.
Reflecting on an incredible experience, “Rhinos LDSL Player Oliver Sutton said: “This has been the best day of my life.
“I have never had the chance to be part of anything like this before, so to represent the Rhinos at Magic Weekend is honestly amazing.”
“We could never have dreamed of having these opportunities and I would like to thank everyone who has made this experience possible, it’s a dream come true.”
This event was, once again, a huge achievement for the sport as Super League and the RFL continue their progress towards becoming a truly inclusive sport that everyone can be involved with. As well as being a great stage to play on, it was also such a fantastic social event and a wonderful chance for all the players to meet new friends who share the same passion for rugby league.
A huge thank you to Community Integrated Care, Super League and Newcastle United FC for providing this incredible opportunity for our players to enjoy.
If you or someone you know would like to get involved with the Leeds Rhinos Learning Disability Super League team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.