Rugby League Expert & Columnist @RLBarrieMc10
Barrie McDermott: Rob Burrow's final Leeds Rhinos appearance will be 'emotional'
Watch the Rob Burrow fundraiser and Jamie Jones-Buchanan testimonial between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix from 3pm on Sunday
Last Updated: 08/01/20 4:23pm
Barrie McDermott expects emotions to be running high when Rob Burrow steps out onto the field for Leeds Rhinos one final time on Sunday.
Burrow will join a host of Rhinos icons on the pitch for the match with Bradford Bulls, which serves as a fundraiser for him following being diagnosed with motor neurone disease and a testimonial for retiring forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
The match at Headingley is a 20,000 sell-out and Sky Sports rugby league expert McDermott, who played alongside Burrow for the Rhinos, is in no doubt it will be an emotional occasion for all involved.
"It's going to be very emotional for him, his family and, I would imagine, for everybody there and everybody who feels like they know him," McDermott told Sky Sports News.
"Because he's grown up from a young man to an adult in everybody's eyes as a rugby league player, they all feel like they know him.
"It's looking like it's going to be a sell-out, everybody going is going to be there to support Jamie Jones-Buchanan, but probably more importantly - and Jamie won't mind me saying that - Rob Burrow.
Sunday will be a special celebration it’s heartwarming to be around so many good RL people @SkySportsRL showing it is massive not only do they love & admire the little fella theyre all giving their service, time & expertise for free on Sunday #OneRobBurrow https://t.co/tgCMPuvsSp pic.twitter.com/Q3WBzIaaGa— Barrie McDermott 🏉 (@RLBarrieMc10) January 8, 2020
"I'm trying to not think about it too much because everybody has to keep their composure and deliver what is expected which is a great celebration of rugby league in general, but also Rob Burrow."
Burrow enjoyed a glittering career with the Rhinos, winning eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and the World Club Challenge on three occasions as part of the club's golden era before retiring to join the coaching staff after the 2017 season.
Former England international footballer Wayne Rooney, England cricketer Jonny Bairstow and PDC World Darts champion Peter Wright are among the personalities from outside of rugby league who have offered their support for the 37-year-old.
It's going to be very emotional for him, his family and, I would imagine, for everybody there and everybody who feels like they know him.
McDermott believes that underlines how widely respected Burrow is outside of the sport as well as within it and takes some solace in the fact his close friend has so many people from all walks of life backing him.
"Rob Burrow is one of those people nobody has a bad word to say about him, who's generous with his time and I think a lot of people identify with the small man in the battle," McDermott said.
"He's got a heck of a battle in front of him, but what he's got is the love, warmth and generosity of everyone else whether they're a rugby league fan, our cousins in rugby union, the wider sporting network or just the general man in the street who want to be there in his hour of need.
"It's difficult to absorb the news such a young, fun-loving nuisance of a bloke is really toiling. But what you're warmed by is the generosity, love and the general feeling everybody wants to get behind him and support him.
"I had a bit of breakfast with him on Monday and he's still coming to terms with everything, but the one thing he's taken great pride in and made him feel so grateful is the warmth and love he's feeling from everyone else."