AUSTRALIAN PROP Mitch Garbutt is looking forward to the biggest game of his life, just four matches into his Leeds Rhinos career.
Garbutt arrived in England the day after Rhinos’ seventh-round win over Hull and has been named in the squad for tonight’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens in Warrington.
The former Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos front-rower has made a big impact in three substitute appearances for Rhinos and reckons playing tonight would continue a dream start to his Leeds career.
“I haven’t played in a game of that size,” Garbutt said.
“It is something I am very excited about, it can’t come quick enough.
“Once I got off the plane and I heard it was something we were going to be playing in, I started looking forward to it. It will be the biggest club game I have played in, without a doubt.”
A Rhinos win would leave Garbutt within touching distance of an appearance at Wembley, in what could be only his eighth game in England.
“Playing in the final would be special, but we are just focusing on this one first,” he added.
“It is going to be a very tough game, Saints are a very, very good side.
“We aren’t looking at the results against them in the league, that’s not the mindset of anyone in the team.
“Nobody thinks playing St Helens is going to be a walk in the park, but we are going into it in good form and that’s something we wanted to do.
“Over the last few weeks there’s definitely areas we need to improve in, but we are there or thereabouts.
“We are playing decent footy without setting the world alight.”
Garbutt made his debut in a 46-18 win over Saints four weeks ago and has yet to play in a losing Rhinos team.
He said: “The team’s been going well – as they have been all year.
“It is such a top-quality side, with some great players in there. I am excited to be able to play with them.
“We know every game now is a big game and we are excited about that. It is going to be a very, very tough few weeks, but it is exciting.
“We are going all right, but obviously we want to improve and we will keep working hard to try and do that.”
Leeds’ pack will be given a boost in the off-season when former Australia Test prop Keith Galloway joins the club from Wests Tigers.
“He will be massive,” Garbutt predicted. “He is massive!
“He has played for Australia and New South Wales and you have to be a good player to play at that level.
“He has played 200-odd NRL games, as well as for his country and his state and I am excited to be playing alongside him.
“We are going to have a good side next year, but hopefully we can finish this season off well. The boys aren’t looking too far forward, we are just excited about the upcoming games.”
Garbutt will go into the semi-final buoyed by his try in last Sunday’s win over Catalans.
That was the first senior touchdown of his career and he said: “I was very lucky.
“I was in the right place at the right time and I got a good ball off Kev (Sinfield), but it was good to score.”