the world’s best winger, Ryan Hall, says his form with Leeds Rhinos will improve when he returns from injury.
Hall, who has scored five tries this season, faces another three weeks on the sidelines due to a fractured wrist.
He conceded he wasn’t happy with his form early in the campaign, but bagged three tries in two games over Easter – before his lay-off – and reckons the spell out will prove a “blessing in disguise” for the crucial second half of the season.
“I am a bit gutted,” Hall said of his enforced absence. “I was playing with it and I masqueraded a little bit with some tape on my hand over the Easter period.
“I was happy to get through that relatively all right, I didn’t get any further knocks on it. To be honest, it’s good news.
“It is a lot better than it could have been, it could have been an operation and four months before I was back playing again.
“That would have been a big chunk of the season, which I wouldn’t have been happy with doing, but it is just a break and the bone is set nicely in place, so it should heal quite nicely with just a cast on.”
Hall missed most of Rhinos’ pre-season, after Four-Nations duty with England and admitted the lay-off will give him an opportunity to catch-up.
“The backroom staff know what they are doing,” he added. “They treat injured players many a time and when they’ve come back they’ve looked really impressive and fit.
“Hopefully I can have the same sort of effect when I come back and I can be effective when I am back in the team.”
Hall is confident he will be able to maintain his fitness, despite not playing.
“It will be hard work for three more weeks, but when is it not?” he said.
“I am going off what the experts have told me and they say it’ll be a four-week thing.
“You can never be certain, but maybe it will be a blessing in disguise, I can get some fitness done and come back better than I was playing before the injury.
“I wasn’t very happy with my form for the season so far, so it might be a re-set button, I can re-set and start again.”
Zak Hardaker and Ashton Golding, both specialist full-backs, shared wing duties during the win over Salford Red Devils three days ago.
With Rhinos’ other specialist winger, Tom Briscoe, on the long-term casualty list following shoulder surgery, Rhinos have been left without any experience in that position.
But Ash Handley, like Hall a product of the Oulton Raiders amateur club, has been in fine form on the right and the England man is confident Leeds will cope. He said: “Ash Handley has come in and really impressed and he’s another one off the production line. It’s chance for him and Ashton to come in and show how good they are. Ashton showed in the pre-season games how good he is, he is certainly a talent, so I might have to fight my way back into the team at this rate.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s are in action tomorrow night against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Stanningley (7.30pm kick-off).