Mr X this week is in a retrospect mood. My pint is half full, rather than half empty shall we say! Walking away from Headingley on Saturday night I had a feeling which I had never expected to have, a feeling of happiness. This may seem wrong but the emotions felt were of those you may have a friends birthday party, happy & joyful.
The last four years have been a fantastic time to be a Leeds fan, winning trophies had previously been a rare sight for a side who had constantly underachieved for years. However this year for me has probably been the most enjoyable to be supporting the blue and amber.
Leaving the DW stadium in Wigan on the 26th March was a horrible feeling, losing 24-6 to rampaging Wigan side hurt a lot. The sight of players out of form and a load of youngsters being thrown into a side missing many of its key players was a challenging sight to witness. Looking back though it gave experience to Chris Clarkson (who?!), Tom Bush (who?) and Luke Ambler (...OK ill stop). However, at the end of the season two of these lads have come on in leaps and bounds (Bush is a little green at the moment for me) and will be fantastic prospects next season.
Yes there is no show-piece Grand Finalfor us, or a chance to win a fourth successive Grand Final, but I personally think this side has learnt more about themselves this season than in any of the past few seasons, they've had to work hard to get into the play-offs and then to secure a fourth place league finish, and a trip to Wembley (yes I had nearly forgotten that) was achieved, yes we donít have to find the key to the trophy cabinet this year, except to hand the SuperLeague Trophy back, but the pressure on our heads has finally gone.
Two goodbyes from the Rhinos side this year to Scott Donald & Greg Eastwood. Scott Donald has been an outstanding employee for the club, always friendly when approached off the field and on the pitch scoring some fantastic tries, making Wellens look an idiot at the Grand Final in 2007, the try at Headingley against Hull FC and the try in Perpignan will live long in the memory of Rhinos fans. Eastwood leaving is a bit gutting, the latter part of the season he has been a beast and has looked settled on the pitch off it was a different matter, all the best Greg!
Finally from me a few words on Terry Newton, a nut case on the pitch (as Mr Long and Mr Gilmour know too well) but a true gent off the pitch. Rugby League is a very large family but the ones who sometimes stray away from the family home need looking after too with help. We need to make sure this tragic event doesnít happen again.
'til next week...Mr X