I've known Matt since he first broke into the Rhinos ranks in 2001 with SouthStander.com having sponsored him in 2002 and 2003. By the time he made the Rhinos first team squad he'd already been at Leeds for three years during which time he captained the Academy side to the Championship.|
After a few stand-in appearances for the injured SouthStand favourite Robbie Mears Disko made the number nine shirt his own for the 2002 season and experienced several career high points including two World Club Challenge wins and four Grand Final wins, the 2004 win being crowned with a Harry Sunderland Award for Man of the Match. He's also achieved Great Britain, England and Yorkshire caps during a career of 233 Leeds appearances and 160 points.
I'm sad to see Matt leave Leeds but he's never really managed to regain the form and fitness that he had prior to suffering major injury in 2004/5. In the last couple of years he has played understudy to Australian superstar Danny Buderus and with the emergance of the next great Rhinos hooker Paul McShane both Hetherington and Diskin have seen the writing on the wall which heralded his exit.
Matt joins Eastwood and Donald as close season departures with the signing of just prop Ben Cross from Newcastle Knights (you can ignore the Hardaker signing for now as he'll spend next season on loan with Featherstone). Last season we really struggled with squad depth and we're already two players down now for next season, I'd guess (or is that hope) that Gary Hetherington hasn't yet closed the cheque book because by my reckoning we need a centre/winger and a couple of big bruising forwards to share the workload with Kylie, Bailey, Cross and Peacock.
It's a sad day, for sentimental reasons, that sees the departure of a Headingley fixture like Matt Diskin and I wish him all the best at Bradford, so long as he doesn't perform too well against us. It looks like the right decision for Matt and for Leeds and leaves us excited with anticipation of the rise of the next Rhinos hooking hero, Paul McShane.