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Jamie Peacock answers Bradford Bulls SOS by giving generously
Jamie Peacock has been there, done it and got the medals and MBE to prove it, so when the Bulls were plunged into a financial crisis he decided to give something back.
The Leeds Rhinos prop and England captain, 34, was shocked to hear the news that a club with whom he won three Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenge showdowns were facing a fight for survival.
Thus Peacock joined a number of his former Bradford team-mates in donating highly-prized memorabilia to be auctioned in the Coral Stand this evening.
Peacock’s 2003 Grand Final shirt and ring will be on offer, along with Brian McDermott’s 2000 Challenge Cup Final shirt and winners’ medal.
Like Peacock, Leon Pryce has donated his 2003 Grand Final shirt and ring, with Stuart Fielden having offered his 2005 Grand Final shirt and ring.
There is a £10,000 reserve on each of those lots and all monies raised will be poured into the ‘Quest for Survival’ campaign.
Peacock said: “Bradford Bulls means a lot to me, I was here for nine or ten years, and I wanted to show my support for the club.
“When you’re in a position like myself as a player, if you do it then generally the fans will follow you.
“I wanted to get behind the campaign and try and help.
“It was a difficult decision, but I thought about what Macca (Brian McDermott) had done and I know just how much his 2000 Challenge Cup shirt and medal mean to him.
“I thought I needed to do something like that and that’s what will probably raise the most money. But like I say, it’s not a decision I took lightly.”
Peacock was presented with an MBE for services to his sport by The Queen earlier this year.
He is the most successful player in Super League history, having won Grand Final, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge honours during a career which began at Odsal in 1999.
He looks back at his time at Bradford with great pride as the club reached five successive Grand Finals between 2001 and 2005.
They won three of them, lifted the Challenge Cup in 2000 and 2003 and were also crowned World Club Challenge winners in 2002, 2004 and 2006.
Peacock won a record seventh Super League Grand Final with Leeds last season and earlier this year tasted his fourth World Club Challenge success.
He said: “Did I ever imagine Bradford would be in this situation? No.
“I was flabbergasted really, thinking ‘wow, where’s this come from?’ “Then I thought about what I could do to help.
“Every Grand Final means a lot, a hell of a lot, so it means a lot to me to donate my 2003 shirt and winners’ ring to the auction.
“Hopefully there are some buyers outside rugby league who realise what kind of items these are.
“I don’t know whether the RFL might buy them to put in a museum or something like that.
“They’re great items, once in a lifetime.
“If you look at the players who’ve donated items, Bradford was their first real club.
“You always have a lot of affinity with your first real club, the club that gave you your first break.
“It means a lot to you so I think that’s why it’s happened.
“We were tight as a set of players. When you win things you need to be tight as a team. That’s showed through now with the items that ex-players have donated.”
Peacock has played in countless Bradford-Leeds derbies and insists he will not suffer distraction on what promises to be an emotional evening tomorrow.
The Rhinos have their own agenda, of course, as they bid to avoid a third straight Super League defeat.
“Odsal is an amazing venue, I’d put it up there with Headingley when there’s a full house,” said Peacock.
“We just had that recently with Manly and Odsal is the same.
“It has so much tradition and prestige. You can see that with the picture of 100,000 people crammed in here.
“You need 14,000 to 15,000 in here to get an atmosphere but when you do it’s electric.
“Hopefully that’s going to be the case on Friday night.
“I won’t get distracted. I know what works for me on a game day.
“Obviously my thoughts are going to be with Bradford up until Friday, but I’ll go out there and want to win the game.
“I won’t be interested in Bradford’s plight when I’m out there playing.
“All I’ll be interested in is making sure Leeds win and stay within that pack at the top of the league.
“I realise I’ve been very blessed to be in two great teams over the years.
“I was in a fantastic Bradford side for most of my career really.
“I then moved into a great Leeds Rhinos team. I’ve been lucky in that respect.”