Date of Birth: 27/01/1982
Height: 5ft 10in
Weight: 14st 2.41lb
Matt Diskin was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. He began playing… rugby for his local amateur side, Dewsbury Moor ARLFC and played there until Leeds Rhinos signed the youngster in 1998. He was 16 at the time and spent the next couple of years in the academy and reserves. He also played for Great Britain Schoolboys and won the Academy Championship as captain in 1999.
2001 saw Matt make his first team debut for the Rhinos against Castleford, in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup. He made his Super League debut in a 50-18 away victory against Harlequins RL (London). He started the game at Hooker and would also start the next two. He made a total of 13 SL appearances in that debut season, impressing everyone along the way.
2002 was a vast improvement on his debut season, as Diskin made 24 starting appearances for the Rhinos. He played in his favoured Hooker’s position in every one of those games and scored 6 tries in total. His efforts helped Leeds to fourth place that year.
In 2003 Matt’s contribution to the Leeds campaign helped keep them within the top 2 of the ladder all season, unfortunately they finished as runners up. He featured in an impressive 27 games for Leeds and scored 2 tries. On a more personal level – Matt’s major highlight came in November when he captained the England side in their 102-0 thrashing of Russia, in the European Nations Cup. He scored 2 tries against Wales later in the tournament. He also played fantastically for Yorkshire in the final Origin Series match, earlier in the season. Yorkshire won the War of the Roses at Odsal convincingly, with a 56-6 victory over Lancashire.
With the previous year being hard to follow, 2004 looked to be a challenging season for “Disco”. Yet, typically, he rose to the challenge and scored 10 Super League tries in 26 games – his finest try/game ratio thus far. His beloved Rhinos dominated the Super League and didn’t budge from the top of the ladder all season and Matt was to be rewarded his first SL Winners medal. His performance in the grand Final only typified his form for the year – he scored the opening try of the game for Leeds and received the Harry Sunderland Trophy for Man of the Match. The year was further sweetened for Diskin when his club honoured him as Player of the Year.
His outstanding progress in the game and 2004 in particular, earned Matt a place in the Great Britain squad which played New Zealand in the Tri Nations. To his misfortune, Diskin ruptured a cruciate ligament in the game – an injury that would see him miss the first 5 months of the 2005 Super League season. When he returned, Matt managed to feature in the final 8 games of the season and scored 2 tries.
2006 saw Matt right back on track and he made a solid 24 SL appearances, scoring 6 tries in a season which saw Leeds slip to 3rd place. It was the first time the Rhinos hadn’t finished in the top 2 since Diskin’s glorious 2003 season.
2007 was a steady year in the Super League for Matt, despite the Rhinos having a shaky start to the season. He made 19 appearances and scored 2 tries. Once again, his performances as Hooker had helped Leeds to another Super League championship.
Diskin made 25 games in the SL during 2008 – the most since his injury in 2005. He scored 5 tries and featured in the famous Grand Final victory over St Helens to give Leeds the championship. The Rhinos won the game 24-16 to defend their title.
2009 was an almost identical season to the previous two, with Diskin making 26 appearances with 4 tries to see Leeds to yet another Grand Final. He scored a try in the record breaking, third consecutive victory over St Helens in a Grand Final and finished the year renowned as one of the best Hookers in the Super League.
2010 was Matt’s testimonial year for Leeds. He featured in 20 of their Super League games but failed to score any tries. Perhaps he’d just been waiting for the 10 year mark before considering a move or perhaps the arrival of Hooker Danny Buderus at Leeds had an impact on Diskin’s opportunities – either way, Matt left his darling Rhinos to controversially join their rivals, Bradford Bulls, in October of 2010.