ENGLAND KNIGHTS winger Ben Jones-Bishop has pledged to prove his worth to Leeds Rhinos.
The 25-year-old has been a Rhinos regular since 2011 and has scored 46 tries in 71 senior appearances, but finds his place under threat following the signing of England ace Tom Briscoe from Hull.
Briscoe was preferred on the right-wing in last week’s trial game against London Broncos, but Jones-Bishop came off the bench in the second half to score a sparkling hat-trick.
With Briscoe also touching down and looking sharp in his first appearance, coach Brian McDermott has some thinking to do ahead of Rhinos’ Super League opener at Hull KR in 11 days’ time.
Rhinos now boast arguably the strongest outside-back division in First Utility Super League with six players – Zak Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall and Briscoe – battling for five spots in the starting line-up.
Jones-Bishop insisted the competition will be good for the team and bring the best out of individuals and said he will leave it to McDermott to make the tough decisions.
Asked if he felt he proved a point with his three second half tries, Jones-Bishop said: “That’s not up to me. I just get on the pitch and do the best I can. I do what I need to do for the team, as does everyone else.
“Obviously competition is strong so you have got to be at your best all the time to try and get in the team.
“There are different aspects of the game, other than tries. We were comfortable winners of the game, but defensively there’s aspects to work on so it’s the whole package really.
“It is nice to get over for tries, but I just do my best and we’ll see what happens for the following weeks.
“It was just good to get out there on Friday and get the minutes.
“I played the full game on Boxing Day and it was nice to get out there and fit in with the team.”
Jones-Bishop, who is out of contract at the end of the year, said he is prepared to fight for his place.
“Definitely,” he insisted. “That’s what you are going to have to do.
“I think it is good for the club, we have got a lot of strength in depth and it means whatever happens – injuries, lack of form or anything like that – there’s a replacement ready to come in of very good quality.
“As was seen in the second half on Friday there are a few of us who can play all over the place and it gives Brian some selection headaches, which is good.”
Jones-Bishop’s ability to play full-back adds to his value in the squad.
Hardaker is Rhinos’ established No 1, but has also been used at stand-off in pre-season.
“That’s my favoured position,” Jones-Bishop confirmed of the full-back role.
“But I am just happy to be on the pitch.
“At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to.”
Rhinos are currently in Portugal putting the finishing touches to preparations for the new season.
“A bit of warm weather is nice,” Jones-Bishop said.
“It’s more team stuff, getting ready for Hull KR.
“We will spend a good week together and crack on.”