Leeds Rhinos: Treble not beyond Leeds admits Aiton

Paul Aiton
Paul Aiton
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WOUNDED HOOKER Paul Aiton will be supporting Leeds Rhinos this weekend.

Rhinos face Catalans Dragons – the team Aiton will join next year – on Saturday evening in Perpignan.

But asked who he will be cheering for, Aiton insisted: “Leeds of course.”

He stressed: “I hope they win every game from here on in.

“At the moment I am 100 per cent Rhinos.

“I think even when I venture on I will still be a Rhinos fan, definitely.

“I will still wish them all the best.

“I have made a lot of good friends here, on and off the field.

“I will always think highly of them.”

Aiton’s season and his time as a Rhinos player came to an when he suffered a broken arm in last month’s home win over Warrington Wolves.

That was a huge blow for both Leeds and the player, who missed out on a Challenge Cup final appearance after playing a key role in helping them get to Wembley.

“It’s on the mend,” Aiton said of the injury.

“Now I have got a smaller cast on I am moving around a lot more.

“I am doing things myself now, so I am feeling a bit happier.

“When I was in a bigger cast, up to my elbow, I couldn’t really do much.

“I could just stay at home with my arm up for two weeks, until the swelling went down.

“Now I can get around a lot better. I went to Wembley and the boys were great, they really made sure myself, Jonesy [Jamie Jones-Buchanan] and the injured guys were part of everything.

“We were involved in all the celebrations, which was good.”

Aiton admitted the worst aspect of his lay-off was not being able to bow out of Leeds on his own terms.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” he said.

“I had played every game before I got injured.

“I knew I was leaving at the end of the season and I wanted all three [trophies]. We are in a good position, but that’s not going to be for me, unfortunately.

“But I am still part of the team and I will be behind the boys all the way, supporting them.

“I very much feel part of it and the club have gone out of their way to make sure I am a part of it.

“They are looking after me, they are helping with my re-hab and I’ve been doing gym sessions – I am in every day.

“They are a great club.”

Aiton’s injury has left Rhinos without a specialist senior hooker, but Aiton believes they are capable of completing the treble, adding the league leaders’ shield and Grand Final trophy to the Challenge Cup they won last month.

Friday’s loss to St Helens – when they were also without back-up No 9 Rob Burrow due to a quad injury – was a set-back.

But Aiton said: “I’d like to see it.

“It hasn’t been done since 2006.

“And the way things are these days, I don’t think it will be done again for a very long time, if ever.

“I’d love them to do it, they are a good bunch of players and I do think they have the ability to do it.”

Aiton bought a house in Leeds shortly before his move to Catalans was confirmed.

“Everything is still in boxes,” he said.

“I haven’t got a date [for moving over to France] or anything yet.

“It is kind of a weird thing, because I am still thinking about Leeds and how we’re going to go, even though I’m not playing.

“I haven’t done any planning yet.”

Ryan Hall.

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