TEENAGE rookie Luke Briscoe is hoping for a run of games to prove his worth in Leeds Rhinos’ senior squad.
Briscoe made his Rhinos debut in last week’s home defeat by Huddersfield Giants after returning from what was planned to be a season-long loan at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
After being starved of opportunities at Wakefield, where he played just two senior games, Briscoe is hoping for more chances with Leeds over the final 10 games of the regular season.
“I am back at Leeds now,” Briscoe confirmed. “I wasn’t getting played at Wakefield, so I made the decision to come back and try and get in at Leeds.
“I am very happy I have played now and, hopefully, I can try and get a regular spot.”
Briscoe achieved three firsts in the game against Huddersfield.
It was his Rhinos debut, the first time he had played in the same team as brother Tom and he had never filled the hooking role before.
“It was good to make my debut, obviously, but shame about the result,” he said of the two-point loss, which came after Tom Briscoe had a touchdown controversially ruled out on the final play.
“It was no different playing with my brother, he was just another player out there.
“But it was good to play with him. It was the first time we have played together, ever. He said good luck to me and helped me get through it and deal with the nerves and things like that.
“I found out I was playing on the Wednesday and it was a bit nerve-wracking, but it was just another game. I tried to crack on with it and not let the nerves get to me.”
Briscoe’s versatility could make him a useful inclusion in Rhinos’ squad, though he could be forced to make way for Sunday’s trip to Widnes Vikings, when Carl Ablett will be available after suspension and long-term casualty Jamie Jones-Buchanan could also be back in contention.
The former Hull man has played full-back, on the wing and at loose-forward and his two appearances for Wildcats this year – away to Wigan and Leeds – were both as a centre.
He came off the bench for his Rhinos debut to replace Robbie Ward at acting-half and said: “I’ve never played hooker before in my life.
“I thought I went all right. My fitness isn’t there because I haven’t really played in over a year. I am trying to build my fitness up and that will help me get better. Being able to play anywhere is a bonus. It gives me more of a shot of getting in the team.
“I want to try and get in the team week in and week out now, but I will see what happens.”
Briscoe – who was sidelined for most of 2013 due to injury – was the Rhinos’ fourth debutant to graduate from the under-19s this season, after Robbie Mulhern, Robbie Ward and Josh Walters. “It’s good that young players get a chance,” he said. “You have just got to take your shot and do the best you can.”
Rhinos under-19s are at Widnes in a curtain-raiser on Sunday, kicking-off at 12.30pm.
Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of the first game of rugby played in the city, when the original Leeds club faced Sheffield on June 19, 1864.
Leeds Rugby Foundation have organised a Champagne breakfast at South Leeds Stadium to mark the event. It will also celebrate the 1938 Championship final between Leeds and Hunslet – which attracted a 54,000 crowd at Elland Road – and the 150th anniversary of Hunslet-based company A Taylor and Son.