Leeds Rhinos: Hood’s fit and desperate to press claims for a place

Liam Hood.

Liam Hood.

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Rookie hooker Liam Hood is desperate to make up for lost time – and be ready to take his next chance with Leeds Rhinos.

The 21-year-old returns from a five-week injury lay-off to play on dual-registration for Hunslet Hawks at Doncaster in the Championship tomorrow.

It has been a doubly frustrating time for the player as the ankle problem came at a point when he could have been pressing his claims for a Super League role at Headingley.

“It’s going to be good to get back out there,” admitted Hood, who has played regularly with their South Leeds neighbours this term.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle these last five weeks trying to get back but the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“It’s never great getting injured but it’s harder for me as I’d been waiting to get my shot for Leeds.

“With all these injuries at the Rhinos at the moment it looked like I might get a game especially with Kev Sinfield and Danny McGuire out and Rob Burrow being pushed back to scrum-half from hooker.

“Even if I’d have been coming off the bench at nine it’d have been great but instead I injured my ankle myself playing for Hunslet against Halifax and missed out too.”

Hood made his Leeds debut last season, scoring three tries in five appearances, but has yet to feature this time around being down the pecking order behind Burrow and Paul McShane.

“When you get a taste you just want more,” conceded the former Drighlington junior, who also made his Scotland bow against Ireland last autumn.

“You just want to play week in, week out but I know I’ve got to sit back and bide my time.

“It’s been good playing for Hunslet.

“I went out to Dewsbury last year and that was a big test for me.

“You really don’t know how tough the Championship is until you play there. You might think it’s a doddle after Super League but it’s not the case.

“It’s been good at Hunslet though as they kind of play the same structures as Leeds and similar ideas.

“It’s made it easier for me coming in and I’m looking forward to playing again at Doncaster.

“The aim at the start of the season was to get in the top eight but now we’re just focusing on not getting relegated.

“A win will likely take us off bottom but we know Doncaster will be tough.”

Meanwhile, Hood also hopes to impress in the coming weeks – for Hunslet or Leeds – to improve his chances of making Scotland’s World Cup squad.

“I played scrum-half in that game last year but would play anywhere for Scotland,” he said.

“It was a really proud moment for me and I’d love to play in the World Cup.

“We’ve Tonga, Italy and the USA in our group so three really big games that give us a good chance of getting into the quarter-finals.

“Hopefully I’ll get in.”

Elsewhere, Rhinos duo Alex Foster – who impressed for Leeds in their defeat at Warrington last week – and the Rhinos under-19s captain Liam McAvoy have both joined the Hawks on dual registration.

Both players look set to make their debuts at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow when the Hawks play Doncaster in a Kingstone Press Championship clash.

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