Leeds Rhinos back-rower Brett Delaney believes Ryan Bailey deserves a big turn-out for his testimonial game against London Broncos this Friday night.
The 28-year-old Australian, who lives with the English prop, believes the 13 years of service Bailey has under his belt warrants a bumper crowd. He also revealed he has a softer side.
“Everyone thinks he is some big thug but that is on the pitch, it’s not reality,” said Delaney, who is now in his fifth season at Headingley.
“He is always laughing and smiling off the field, you just need to earn his trust but once you have that you can see the great qualities he has and probably not many people have seen that down the years.
“He obviously has a lot of love for his mum, who brought him up, and he adores her along with the rest of his family. When it comes down to it, he is a loyal bloke and loyalty is not something that happens over night, you are brought up with it and that is why we are similar.
“When you grow up you learn to appreciate a lot of things and loyalty is top of that list. Ryan is very loyal once he trusts you. People think he is arrogant but the opposite is true, he is quite shy and likes to keep himself to himself.”
Bailey and Delaney are affectionately known as the ‘Bash Brothers’ by Rhinos fans since they moved in together two years ago. Indeed, a special t-shirt has been launched featuring the two to raise funds for Bailey’s testimonial fund.
“Living together is good for both of us, it has been a great two years,” said Delaney.
“When you click with someone who is similar to you, that makes life easier. Around the house he is funny, we bounce off each other, when he wants to he can cook, he can turn his hand to anything but I didn’t know that for the first six months!
“People probably think the club is crazy in letting us live together but actually it brings a balance to both of us.”
In late 2013, rumours were circulating that linked Bailey with a move to Brisbane Broncos and the NRL. Delaney, who joined Leeds from the Australian league, was on-hand with advice.
“Talent wise I have no doubt he could have been a success in the NRL,” he said.
“He and JP [Jamie Peacock] are the only front rowers I can think of who can play 80 minutes.
“He is naturally gifted with fitness and aggression, every side needs that and the Australian public would have loved him over there. The hard thing was thinking about leaving his kids but the fans would have taken to him straight away.
“It would have been good for him but things move on. However, the NRL isn’t always the answer. Leeds is a family and the club care about you as a person, because of the competition and the prizes on offer over there it is cut throat and that can be harsh on the players.”