Very few rugby league games last year set my pulse racing. To pick the highlights, off the top of my head, it would have to be 26 - 18 loss to St Helens, the Qualifying Semi-final against the Catalans Dragons and the 18 - 10 win over Saints at Headingley. However, you can even put the excitement and quality of these three games together, but youíll never get something as satisfying as the 2003 Challenge Cup Semi-Final against St. Helens at the, then named, McAlpine Stadium.|
Aged 13 that April Saturday 2003 it was my first experience of a really big game. Rugby before that game was something I went to when a relative could afford to take me. Before then I looked forward more to the burgers, than the offering on the pitch. However this was different because it was my first away game and trip to a modern stadium with all its 21st century facilities.
Looking back I might as well of just been blind-folded before I went to the McAlpine Stadium in 2003 because half of the time I was bobbing up and down to try to catch a glimpse of whatís happening. Some of the time I sat on a wall, away from my fammily, but I missed the social interactions with my older relatives. By half time Iíve had enough and I wanted to go home.
What Iím trying to get at here is if you have a young one then please take them to a stadium that has fantastic views. OK things have improved at Headingley thanks to the Carnegie Stand but nothing is better than an away match in my opinion. You get the more hardcore following who also seem to be the more vocal. You also get to go out of Leeds for a bit.
If a kid can enjoy the joys I experienced that day then itíll be well worth the petrol fuel/coach ticket and the match day expenses you have to fork-out. The way Leeds played in that one match in 2003 is something money canít buy. The reward that I got for time invested in going to that match was was ten times more worth than any season ticket Iíve had over the last 10 or so years.
Leeds v Melbourne Storm could well be another of those occasions. One that youíll talk about for years to come because you were there. If youíve got the money get yourself and a couple of kids down then do it, in a heartbeat.
This is only the third match in my life Iíve ever wanted to go to but I canít.