JAMIE Jones-Buchanan is happy to fill in for Leeds Rhinos as an emergency prop – but he doesn’t see it as a long-term move.
The 28-year-old has started Rhinos’ last two games in the front-row, following a series of injuries and Ben Cross’ one-match ban.,
Cross will be available for Saturday’s visit of St Helens and Luke Burgess has a chance of returning from a knee problem, but Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai remain on the casualty list and Ryan Bailey is still recovering after undergoing groin surgery last week.
That means Jones-Buchanan will spend at least some of the game in his new position and he stressed he is happy to help out, but he still sees himself as a specialist back-rower.
“I am enjoying it,” he said of the prop-forward role. “I just love pulling the blue and amber shirt on, regardless of which position I am playing.
“It is pretty tough, I am not the biggest forward and it is hard work when you are just touching 15 stone, but you’ve just got to step up and work hard.
“I know the other boys will work hard for me and it is my duty to work hard for them.”
He added: “I might have 10 or 15 minutes at prop in normal games, but I like it in the back-row.
“That’s where I play, but I’ll have a go anywhere in the pack. The game’s pretty similar everywhere you play.
“As long as we are getting results and we are turning teams over, I will be happy.”
Jones-Buchanan was one of 12 Rhinos academy graduates on show in last weekend’s 46-12 win over Salford City Reds; 10 for Leeds, plus opposing duo Jodie Broughton – his half-brother – and Ashley Gibson.
Rhinos’ side included five players from outside their elite top-20 squad and Jones-Buchanan said the youngsters’ performance was a big positive.
“I really enjoyed it,” he stated. “I thought the young lads stepped up in difficult circumstances with all the players we have got out.
“Good luck to them, I was really pleased for them and I thought they did a great job.”
Leeds have won three of their opening five Engage Super League fixtures, but last week’s victory ended a run of successive defeats and Jones-Buchanan admitted it has lifted the mood in the camp.
“We need to get better in our defence and stay strong in attack,” he said. “We have got the best attack in the league, so if we can do that we will be really happy.
“We needed a good performance and we needed a win after two disappointing results.
“I would like to thanks the fans for keeping the faith and getting behind us.
“It has been difficult and people were having to play out of position, but everyone just has to get their heads down and work hard.
“There’s no excuses. We have got a smile on our faces, but I don’t think we can sit back and think we’re back on track.
“We have got a massive game on Saturday against a St Helens team who lost at the weekend and are going to want to get back to winning ways.
“We had Saturday and Sunday off to recover, but we hit the ground running when we came back in on Monday and we need a big week to prepare for Saturday.”