NEARLY 18 years has passed with a lot of water under the bridge, and a fair few trophies held aloft, too, but James Lowes admits he “regrets” one moment in his career that occurred at Headingley.
It was in 1996 that the hooker, just a few months after being discarded by Leeds Rhinos, first returned and scored for Bradford Bulls.
“I got shown the door at Leeds and rugby league is about opinions,” recalled Lowes, who returns again tonight for the first time as Bradford head coach.
“Some players are not in a coach’s thoughts and I didn’t feature in Dean Bell’s plans.
“Even though I didn’t like it particularly, Leeds sold me to Bradford. Sometimes you have to go back and prove a point.
“The first time I did, I won and scored. I regret it now but I jumped up and faced the South Stand with my fists held high saying ‘you beauty’ or words to that effect. Probably, ever since that point, they’ve given me stick but that’s part and parcel of it.
“I absolutely did enjoy it (going back). Absolutely.”
Ironically, current Leeds coach Brian McDermott also scored for Bradford that day in the 56-18 victory, their first Super League trip to Headingley and still the most points Rhinos have conceded at home in the summer era.
Of course, Lowes’s transfer was one of Bradford’s best pieces of business.
He was Man of Steel the following season as he lifted the first of three titles with the club where he spent seven years, scoring 84 tries in 205 appearances, also winning two Challenge Cups and their maiden World Club Challenge.
Lowes, McDermott’s assistant as Leeds won Grand Finals in 2011 and 2012, said: “It will be nice to go back but it will be disappointing really at the end as we’re not going to get that opportunity to do it again for another year at least (due to relegation).
“But the Halifax-Bradford derby will be reignited which is a really big one for both clubs.
“I’m going to really enjoy this, going back and getting booed by the South Stand, and I know the lads are, too.”