Star-studded Boxing Day ceremony planned for Leeds Rhinos' official new South Stand opening

LEEDS RHINOS chief executive Gary Hetherington says players representing every decade of the club as far back as the 1950s will form part of a ceremonial opening of its gleaming new Tetley's South Stand.

Delighted Leeds Rhinos chief executive officer, Gary Hetherington, says the new Tetleys South Stand at Emerald Headingley is completed and is everything we expected and more. PIC: Simon Miles

As this picture shows, the impressive development has been completed on time ahead of the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day. It is the latest piece of the huge, ongoing £45m stadium redevelopment of Emerald Headingley.

Hetherington said: “It is all ready now and awaiting the big opening on Boxing Day.

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“There will be an official ceremonial opening of the stand which will include a procession of some really familiar players who have given the club distinguished service over its long history.

Rhinos chief, Gary Hetherington. PIC: James Hardisty

“We are just in the process of compiling the list now of past players but every decade since the 1950s will be represented in some way.”

The club had long wanted to improve the iconic but deteriorating South Stand terrace and Hetherington is delighted with the end result.

“It’s everything we expected and more,” he said.

“We had a fans’ open day a few weeks ago and the feedback we had from that, too, was terrific.

“There’s 2,000 separate seats and then a terrace for 5,800 which, alone, was pretty much the capacity of the old South Stand.

“The viewing positions are outstanding with no pillars in the way while there’s some really good padded seats in there as well but it’s all the internal facilities which bring the very best.

“We’re certainly looking forward to opening it up against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.”

First, though, Headingley plays host to the England Academy tomorrow night when they welcome the Australian Schoolboys to Leeds, bidding to complete an historic two-nil series victory.