An Ode to Rob Burrow

By June 3, 2024

Sports. Leeds.

Rob Burrow mural on the side of a wall. The text reads "in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream" - Rob Burrow

Photo: Thomas Judd-Cooper

“In a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream.” – Rob Burrow

The North is the home of Rugby League and Leeds was the home of Rob Burrow.  Rob Burrow, one of the all-time greatest Rugby League players and champion fundraiser for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) has sadly passed away this week at 41 from the condition.

Growing up as a rugby league fan, nothing struck fear into my heart as much as my beloved Hull FC going up against the infallible duo of Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. An unstoppable duo who would define an entire generation of rugby league.

The pair would steer Leeds Rhinos into their most successful era winning 8 Super League titles, 2 Challenge Cup finals and 3 world club championship titles. A mind blowing feat, almost incomprehensible.

After hanging up the boots he was sadly diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2019. A debilitating condition affecting the brain and nerves that often leaves sufferers with little to no motor skills or speech and sadly usually leads to the death of those afflicted.

Rob used his diagnosis as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for MND research and treatment. Raising £1m in a single campaign last year, he was a juggernaut in spite of his limited mobility and quality of life.

Just like on the pitch – when it seems all hope was lost, he fought and fought until the end. Always helping others, always a smile on his face with a joke at the ready. With his former captain and lifelong soulmate Kevin Sinfield by his side every inch of the way. Rob and Kevin’s story are inextricably linked, inseparable from the moment they met.

This is an ode to the legend. The Leeds lad who dedicated his entire life to the city he called home. Who dedicated his life to helping others also fighting MND. Who dedicated his life to putting the team before the individual.

If you don’t know Rob’s story, please familiarise yourself. He was, and still is, an inspiration to all. Unstoppable.

The ball has passed to Kevin Sinfield who will carry Rob’s legacy with pride, as he always has.

And always will.


Donate to the MND Association here.