Leeds Rhinos have thanked their fans for their support throughout 2016 with the average attendance across all games increasing over the course of the season.

The Rhinos played their final home game of the season last Thursday against newly promoted Leigh Centurions. The game attracted a crowd of 14,747, which was the highest attendance for this fixture for 54 years since a Challenge Cup Second Round Replay on 5th March 1962 when the crowd was given as 26,000. Prior to that there was an attendance of 15,000 for a League game between the two sides at Headingley on 4th February 1961.
Leeds Warm up SOM 2015
The Rhinos were confirmed as the best supported team in the First Utility Super League after the eleven games of the regular season however the average attendance for all 16 home games at Headingley Carnegie, including the World Club Challenge, eleven regular season games and four Super 8s Qualifiers matches, was 15,745, up from an average of 15,278 for the 17 games in 2015 including Challenge Cup matches and the Grand Final semi final against St Helens.

Despite a tough season for the team on the pitch, the club’s supporters have remained loyal and made sure they got behind the team during the vital Super 8s Qualifiers period. The average attendance across those games against Hull KR, Salford, Batley and Leigh was 14,507. On average that was just 332 less per game than the previous year when the Rhinos were chasing the treble by hosting Warrington, Wigan, St Helens and Castleford.

Commenting on the rise in attendances, Head Coach Brian McDermott said, “The supporters from most clubs would probably like to claim that they are the best but I don’t think you can really clarify that until you have been through a tough test, stuck by your team and come through the other side. Our fans have been incredible, home and away, this season and they have always given their support to the players. On behalf of the whole club and, in particular, our players I would like to thank them for their support.”

The Rhinos average attendance for their fifteen Super League games this season puts the club in elite company in terms of average attendances. Only three clubs in the Australian NRL have attracted higher average attendances for their home games in 2016 with Brisbane, Melbourne and North Queensland ahead of the Rhinos. Meanwhile, in British rugby, in both codes, only Saracens, Harlequins and Leicester in the Aviva Premiership have a higher average, with the first two having showcase events at Wembley and Twickenham which boosts their average. No teams in the Pro 12 Rugby Union competition have a higher average whilst only four French Top 14 Rugby Union sides can claim higher attendances than the Rhinos.

Leeds Rhinos fans favourite Jimmy Keinhorst said the fans had been crucial to the team this season. He added, “Our fans are very special for us. They pay their hard earned money each week and we know they are desperate to see us win. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, things have not gone our way this year but they have stuck by the team and they have played a huge part in helping us get through the season. Hopefully next season we can give them more to cheer about and we will be working hard in the off season to make sure we have the best chance of doing that.”

Next season the capacity at Headingley Carnegie is due to be restricted to around 13,500 whilst construction work begins on the South Stand, subject to planning permission. More details on Leeds Rhinos Memberships for the 2017 season are available at www.rhinosmemberships.com