It has been over a week since the world of Rugby League stood still as supporters said goodbye to the career Mose Masoe and united to support Rob Burrow in the fight of his life. Ben Guzdek writes.
There’s Only One….
It was a sad but memorable occasion as 21,000 fans and legends from both Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls descended onto Headingley Carnegie.
Although it was to serve as a testimonial match for Jamie Jones-Buchanan who announced his retirement last year, it was agreed that the day would be shared with Rob for one last time.
Everyone played their part, especially the away supporters who walked 11 miles from Odsal and arrived in time for the game. They were also joined by RFL chairman Simon Johnson and former Bradford players Carl Hall and Leon Pryce, along with coaches Paul Anderson and Andrew Henderson to raise over £2,000.
The television broadcasters Sky Sports also stamped their mark by donating their services, making sure that every minute of the game was broadcast. What was also nice to see was their cross-over with BBC Sport who show Challenge Cup matches and Super League highlights.
But the spotlight was on the pitch as Leeds’ “golden generation” came together for one last 80 minute spell against their Yorkshire rivals.
Rob Burrow was treated to a standing ovation by a sold-out Headingley as he ran onto the field for the final time as a player.
— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) January 12, 2020
A Sad Goodbye
On the same day, Wakefield Trinity hosted Hull Kingston Rovers in a friendly commemorated to Danny Brough but the focus turned quickly to Mose Masoe, who was stretchered off the pitch in what looked like a serious injury.
Those assumptions came to be true as head coach Tony Smith announced that the 30-year old has lost all feeling from the chest down after one of three artificial discs in his neck gave way and pinched his spinal cord following an innocuous collision.
Hull KR’s head of recruitment Danny McGuire has announced the Robins will apply for salary cap dispensation for Masoe, leaving them with a non-federation spot on their overseas quota.
Whoever they can bring in will have to fill a massive hole in their pack of forwards as Hull Kingston Rovers tragically lose their most experienced and hard working player.
— Arif Ahmed (@ArifAhmedITV) January 13, 2020
Makes you wonder doesn’t it? Why do bad things happen to good people? It hasn’t been the best two months for the world of Rugby League.
But as Rob Burrow told Sky Sports in a post-match interview: “We’re not the biggest sport, but we’re closely knit”.
He’s not wrong, when Widnes Vikings were close to administration last year, donations came quickly to help ensure the club’s survival.
Now the ‘Rugby League Family’ has done it again. Since last weekend, Rob Burrow’s fund for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has raised over £250,000.
The RFL’s Benevolent Fund, which raises funds for players suffering from long-term or career-ending injuries have raised over £30,000 for Mose, who could spend the rest of his life not being able to walk again. Following this, it has been confirmed that Mose is responding well to treatment and is showing signs of improvement.
A Final Word
Over the past week, the support for both Rob Burrow and Mose Masoe has been remarkable and has shown the heart and soul of this working-class sport.
Although both players are different in stature, their hearts are just as big as each others. Which reflects highly on the donations they have received, showing that the community respects them highly as men, as well as players.
It is inevitable that bad news are yet to come but this past week has shown the community can together in the toughest situations.
The links for both charities are:
Rob Burrow’s fund for Motor Neurone Disease: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=robburrow
RFL Benevolent Fund for Mose Masoe: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/hull-kingston-rovers-trust