Leeds Rhinos: Recalled Lilley targeting a regular starting spot

Jordan Lilley in action against Castleford.
Jordan Lilley in action against Castleford.
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SHOOTING STAR Jordan Lilley says he would be happy to return to Bradford Bulls, but wants to build his career at Leeds Rhinos.

Lilley was recalled from Bulls to make his first Leeds appearance of the season in last Thursday’ record 66-10 defeat at Castleford Tigers.

Jordan Lilley.

Jordan Lilley.

Rhinos announced last Tuesday that Lilley’s loan was being extended, but on a weekly basis, after he completed an initial month with Bradford.

Under loan rules there is no recall by the parent club in the initial month. That is different to dual-registration, which allows players to switch from club to club at short notice.

Lilley had expected to play for Bulls at London Broncos yesterday, but plans changed when Leeds’ first-choice scrum-half Rob Burrow fell ill.

Lilley said: “I trained with Bradford on Thursday morning.

“I did everything with Bradford and then got told Rob was ill and Thursday afternoon was when I got the call to play.

“I am not really took sure what the situation is now. I need to sit down and speak about it, but as far as I know because I played on Thursday I am now registered with Leeds, so if I go on loan it has to be a month.

“It won’t be week-by-week, it will be another month before I can go the week-by-week again.”

Lilley joined Bulls to gain game time and was a big hit for them in the Kingstone Press Championship.

“I’ve been really enjoying my time at Bradford,” he said. “It has been a good experience, all the boys are really good and Geoff [Toovey] is a really good coach who has been helping me out, Leigh Beattie as well.”

But Lilley stressed: “My aim is to be playing here, at Leeds and to be in the starting line-up. That’s what I want to do.

“It was tough last week, Cas were outstanding and we weren’t. That’s as simple as it was.

“For me personally it was hard, Cas were always on the front foot and in control of the game.

“When we tried to get back into it we’d spill the ball or knock-on and give something cheap away.

“Those are the things we need to work on. Cas have shown if you do that against them they are going to punish you.

“That’s what they did, so full credit to them for the win.”

Lilley insisted he did not regard being loaned to Bradford as a snub by Leeds, despite playing 24 times for Rhinos last year and being voted Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star.

“I don’t sulk about things,” he said. “If that’s what Mac [Brian McDermott] thinks is going to be good for me, he’s the coach and I am going to listen to him.

“That’s what I did and I went to Bradford with an open mind. I wanted to better myself and I think I’ve been doing that the last few weeks.

“I am defending better now and I am a lot stronger. I had a really good pre-season and I didn’t take it as going down a league or anything like that.

“I took it as a challenge and I wanted to go there and give my best for Bradford. If that’s the best for my development, then that’s what I’ll do to get a spot in the team.”

Last week’s defeat – Leeds’ heaviest in Super League – sent shockwaves through the club.

Lilley said: “We have been good the last few weeks and we’ve played some good stuff.

“But we just haven’t quite been there in the last period and [on Thursday] we weren’t there at all.

“From the kick-off we were losing tackles and falling off tackles. I have got to give full credit to Cas, they were outstanding.

“They executed the gameplan perfectly, Luke Gale ran the show and Zak [Hardaker] was very good at the back.

“From one to 17 they were better than our one to 17.”

Away from his full-time job, Lilley has branched out into personal training and has been coaching the academy at his former amateur club Stanningley, where his father Mark is also involved.

“It is going well,” he said. “It is something for later on in my career. I’ve got the PT business going now and I am working on the coaching side with my dad at Stanningley.

“We are three from three now wins-wise so it is going well and I am enjoying developing younger kids. Maybe they will progress to playing against me or with me one day.”

Luke Gale.

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