Jamie Jones Buchanan admitted that despite all he has achieved on the field, seeing the rugby league community come together to pack out Emerald Headingley Stadium in support of Rob Burrow was the most special moment in his career.
The Leeds clash with Bradford was billed at Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial, for his astonishing 20 years with the Rhinos, but in light of the recent MND diagnosis of his former teammate Burrow doubled up as a show of support and celebration for both players, with Headingley sold out for the pre-season fixture.
Speaking after the game, JJB was full of praise for everyone at Leeds for putting together such a successful and heartwarming event.
“It’s probably the most memorable night of my career without a doubt,” he said.
“In 2015 when Kevin Sinfield took me up the stairs at Wembley to lift the Challenge Cup epitomised our team and why we were so successful.
“We had a lot of talented players but for me it was always the team spirit and it was on show again here today,” he added.
As part of the game, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan and a host of former legends of both Leeds and Bradford returned to the field one last time, highlighting the impact the 37 year old half back has had on the game and JJB hailed the culture and togetherness of rugby league for making it happen.
“With the Leeds and Bradford fraternity combining and so many old boys coming back and playing some minutes for Rob today, it was was huge,” he explained.
“Rugby league isn’t an easy game to play either and tonight was symbolic of what this club’s been about for 15/20 years and tonight was the most powerful moment of my career.
“As an event the club has been fantastic and the reaction of the fans for all the players when they came on was special. They were all here for Rob and it’s amazing how the whole of rugby league has come together to support him, it’s been immaculate.
“I’m just glad I got on before Jamie Peacock, because if I didn’t I know I wouldn’t have got a carry!” he joked about his 15 minute stint at the end of the match.
Speaking about his own career, which spans two decades and over 400 appearances in the blue and amber, Jones-Buchanan was left feeling a huge sense of gratitude and pride for the opportunities given to him by his hometown club.
“I feel so grateful to have played 20 years at this great club, I’ve lived the dream to be honest, I grew up supporting Leeds and I’ve played 421 games for them.”