As the eve of the new Super League season approaches, we preview each of the region's clubs.Read the full story ›
It less than 3 weeks to go until the start of the new rugby Super League season and the excitement is building.
To mark the start of the new season the Super League have released a new promotional video featuring all our region's 6 sides - Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Hull Kingston Rovers, Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Leeds Rhinos became only the second team from our region to win the treble after they edged out Wigan 22-20 in the Super League Grand Final.
Captain Kevin Sinfield, who was playing his last game for the club along with Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai, kicked the winning conversion after Josh Walters scored the final try of the match.
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Leeds snatched a remarkable victory amid unbelievable tension to lift the league leaders' shield on a night of high drama in Super League.
The Rhinos were heading for a fourth straight defeat - and an away semi-final - after Huddersfield established a 16-8 lead but they stormed back with 12 points in the last seven minutes to claim an unlikely 20-16 victory.
Right winger Tom Briscoe, Leeds' five-try hero at Wembley, handed his side a lifeline with a 74th-minute score while left winger Ryan Hall grabbed the winner in the last move of an epic game.
It means the Rhinos, two-thirds of the way towards completing the treble, will host St Helens in the second semi-final next Friday while Wigan, who lost out in the battle for top spot despite a 47-12 win over Castleford, play Huddersfield at the DW Stadium on Thursday.
The John Smith's Stadium was no place for the faint-hearted as scores flashed over from the DW Stadium and the helicopter based at the City Airport on the outskirts of Manchester began to hover between the two destinations with the prized trophy.
Points were at a premium throughout a close-fought first half but there was no shortage of excitement, with Huddersfield demonstrating just why they have the best defence in Super League.
Leeds drew first blood after nine minutes when second rower Stevie Ward collected skipper Kevin Sinfield's pass to glide through a rare hole in the home defence to touch down.
But when Hall fumbled the ball into touch from the re-start, it gifted the Giants a perfect attacking position and they made the most of it, with prolific right winger Jermaine McGillvary diving over at the corner for his 27th try of the season.
The score maintained McGillvary's record of scoring in all seven rounds of the Super 8s and virtually guarantees he finishes the season as Super League's leading tryscorer.
Danny Brough's touchline conversion levelled the scores but Sinfield edged his side into an 8-6 interval lead with a 40-metre penalty.
The Rhinos fans must have felt the trophy slipping from their grasp five minutes into the second half when full-back Zak Hardaker fumbled the ball from Hall's risky pass near his own line and Huddersfield hooker Luke Robinson hacked on to the line and appeared to ground the ball.
However, slow-motion replays revealed Robinson lost control of the ball and Leeds breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Brough brought his side level with a penalty on 48 minutes and they twice split the visitors defence through Brett Ferres and Joe Wardle without managing to apply the finishing touches.
At the other end, Danny McGuire had a try disallowed for an obstruction and Hardaker was held up on his back over the line.
At one point Sinfield was shaping for a drop goal but he was quickly shut down and McGillvary got the Giants on a counter-attack which produced what looked to be the pivotal score.
Second rower Jack Hughes, who is on loan from Wigan, gathered the ball from Brough's high kick and combined with centre Leroy Cudjoe to get scrum-half Jamie Ellis sprinting over for a try.
Brough landed his second conversion and shortly afterwards kicked a second penalty to open up an eight-point lead but the drama continued as Briscoe went over on 74 minutes for his side's second try.
Sinfield's touchline conversion cut the gap to just two points and levelled the scores for a third time with a penalty before Hall collected McGuire's kick over the Huddersfield defence to sprint away for the match-winning try.
Leeds Rhinos have received a major boost ahead of the start of the start of their Super 8s campaign tonight against Warrington Wolves at Headingley Carnegie with prop Brad Singleton agreeing a new four year deal with the club.
Twenty-two-year-old Singleton made his debut in 2011 but has come of age this season, featuring in 24 games so far in 2015 and crossed for an impressive eight tries.
His new deal will keep him at Headingley Carnegie until at least the end of the 2019 season.
“I am pleased to have agreed a new four year deal at this great club.
"At the start of the year I set myself the goal of playing every week and so far I have only missed two games, although I have to admit that I have surprised myself with how many times I have got over the try line!
"Clearly next season there will be a transition within the side, as a number of players move onto the next stage of their careers.
"That was a major influence for me to sign the new deal. With that transition taking place, it would be silly to look elsewhere, there are some exciting roles to fill, and I am sure there are some exciting times for the youngsters coming through in the next year.
“If you did a head count, we clearly needed to add numbers to the squad for 2016 but I think the recruitment has been excellent and credit for that must go to Brian and Gary.
"I am sure Brian will have some headaches in terms of picking the side but for us as players that is what gets the best out of the side."
“I am very pleased that Brad has decided to continue his progression with the Rhinos.
"The last two seasons have seen Brad establish himself as a regular first team player and he is developing into a tough uncompromising prop.
"He is still relatively young for his position and has his best years ahead of him. But Brad now knows what is needed, not only to play first team but also to play for Leeds Rhinos and the expectancy that comes with that.
"Brad has some very strong leadership qualities that I'm sure will be needed by himself and the team over the next few seasons.”
Former England and Great Britain rugby league captain Jamie Peacocck is to retire from playing at the end of the season to become Football Manager at Hull Kingston Rovers
The Leeds Rhinos prop confirmed his retirement from rugby league today after completing a tenth and final campaign with the Headingley club.
Peacock, who has won eight Super League Grand Finals as well as making over 500 appearances for Leeds, Bradford, Yorkshire, England and Great Britain, will then move to the KC Lightstream Stadium to take up his new challenge from next season.
“The Rhinos are a blueprint for a successful sporting business and the challenge for me now is to take those lessons and try and implement my own thoughts in a new environment.
“Hull KR are a club with huge potential within a city that is rugby league mad and having invested wisely in their facilities in recent years. I know a number of people over there already and I am looking forward to working with Chris Chester, Willie Poching, Mike Smith and Neil Hudgell in my new role.
“Whenever we have gone over there to play, it is clear Rovers have a fanatical supporter base. I think it is vital that you have a hard core of good people who want the club to succeed to be able to build and plan for development in the future.
“Now that I have the next chapter of my career finalised, I am fully focused on finishing my time with Leeds as strongly as possible and leaving my home town club in the best possible position.”
A winner of multiple Grand Final, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge matches throughout his career, Peacock is a former England and Great Britain captain who was crowned Man of Steel in 2003 and awarded his MBE three years ago for his services to the sport.
Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell added: “We are delighted to have secured Jamie to the full-time position of Football Manager for the next two years.
“He is a proven champion at the highest level in our sport and we look forward to working with him, drawing on his experiences and contacts and generally raising the profile and performance of the club in key areas.
“I’m sure he will have a big role to play in helping to attract young English talent to Hull Kingston Rovers and in helping to develop a winning culture on and off the field.”
“I think this is an inspired appointment by Hull KR and I know Jamie will be very good at what will be a very different challenge.
“He has been at the heart of all our success over the past decade and his performances and influence at the club cannot be overestimated.
" He will leave a lasting legacy and all our best wishes will be with him when he swaps his training kit for a new suit at the end of the season.”
The Rugby League Championship kicks off on Friday when the Dewsbury Rams entertain the Sheffield Eagles.
And this season there's a huge incentive, because promotion to Super League is back on the agenda.
The League's new structure means that at the end of the regular season, the top four in the Championship will get the chance to play off against the bottom four in Super League for the right to play in the top flight next year.
The changes have been welcomed by the coaches of all eight Yorkshire clubs in the division.
Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has thrown his weight behind a move to a new stadium.
On Friday night high winds caused a wall to collapse at Castleford's Wheldon Road ground.
Powell, who today lined up alongside his team for the annual team photograph, believes the move is a must if his side is to compete in Super League:
Hull KR have signed Gold Coast Titans half-backs Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair as the replacements for departed overseas pair Travis Burns and Kris Keating.
Both Kelly, 23, and Blair, who turned 30 on Thursday, were under contract with the Titans for another 12 months but were released to enable them to sign two-year deals with the Robins.
Their capture takes the club's tally of new signings to eight for the 2015 season as head coach Chris Chester rebuilds the side that failed to reach the First Utility Super League play-offs this year.
Burns was sold to St Helens while Keating was released by mutual consent after a disappointing first season in England.
"They're two very exciting players and we're really pleased to add them to our squad for next season," Chester said.
"They both have good kicking games, they're strong defenders and we are expecting Albert in particular to set the Super League on fire in the halves.
"We've done our homework on the pair of them and we are really confident they will be a good fit both for the club and the Super League competition.
"I'd still like to bring another half-back in as well as these two. The good thing about Maurice is that he can play left centre as well and he'll also be challenging for a spot in the team in that position."
Kelly, a former Australian schoolboy international, has scored 18 tries in 47 appearances for the Titans and Cronulla while Blair has made 99 NRL appearances for Penrith, Melbourne and the Titans.
Titans head coach Neil Henry said: "They were given a rare opportunity to play together as halves by Hull KR and they get the security of two-year deals.
"We feel we have good depth in the halves here so we agreed to allow Albert to take this opportunity in the Super League and, at 30, Maurice has the chance to extend his career which we are also happy to accommodate. We wish them both great success over there."