AFTER A DISASTROUS first half of the season, Leeds Rhinos winger Tom Briscoe reckons he is finding his feet.
Briscoe’s hat-trick against London Broncos last weekend came in only his ninth game of the year and was a timely boost to his morale as he battles back to form and fitness.
Briscoe was one of three players – along with Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding – to pick up an ankle injury when Rhinos were thrashed 56-12 at Widnes Vikings in First Utility Super League round two six months ago.
That kept him out of action for five games and his return lasted only two before he was sidelined again, this time by a shoulder problem.
He was grounded for almost four months, but has played in Leeds’ last five matches and is confident things are looking up at last.
“I think my performances have been building,” said the former Hull and England man, who also had a long lay-off last year with a separate shoulder injury. “I wasn’t expecting to come back and start ripping it up, but I wanted to become consistent and keep building on my performances.
“I think I’ve done that and, hopefully, I can keep doing that and go into the off-season in some good form.”
Briscoe admitted, at this stage, he is happy just to get some games under his belt.
“The last two seasons I’ve not played too many games, due to injuries,” he said.
“To get a few games now is good and I’m enjoying it.”
The 42-28 win in London was Rhinos’ eighth from their last nine games and they have a 100 per cent record with three rounds of the Qualifiers completed.
“I think at the start of it we’d have taken three from three,” Briscoe said.
“Obviously our performances have been a bit down on where we wanted to be.
“We’ve shown glimpses of good stuff and then we shoot ourselves in the foot with silly errors and off-loads and mistakes.
“If we want to start challenging again next year, looking ahead to that, we need to cut them out.
“We want to go into the pre-season on the back of some good form, in order to give us some confidence.”
Rhinos have no game this weekend, when the Super-8s take a break for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
They are back in action on September 2 at home to Salford Red Devils in what will be a crucial game for both teams.
A win would go a long way towards securing Rhinos’ top-flight status, but Salford will be heading for the million pound game – at best – if they lose.
“It’s going to be a big one,” Briscoe predicted. “They have won one from three so it’s a massive game for them. Obviously they are wanting to retain their status in Super League so they’ll be putting everything in.
“They need some wins and we have to be on our guard.
“We’ve got two weeks to prepare for that and we’ll rest up and get ready for it like we do any other game.”