BATTERINGS FROM team-mates have inspired rookie full-back Ashton Golding’s try-saving efforts for Leeds Rhinos this season.
Golding, 20, has caught the eye with some outstanding last-ditch defence, including a stunning tackle to keep out Justin Horo in last week’s 46-10 win over Catalans Dragons.
At just 5ft 10ins tall and weighing 14 stone, Golding is tasked with bringing down players who are much bigger.
But he said: “It is part of the job.” And he added: “When you’ve got Mitch Garbutt running at you in training you’ve got to do it on him, so if you can do that you can tackle most people.
“You don’t say to the forwards ‘please run at me’, but it just naturally happens and you’ve got to come up with the goods in training or you’re not going to get picked to play games.
“It’s just practice, practice. I’ve been practicing that all through the off-season and it’s paying off.”
Golding, a product of the Stanningley community club, was a surprise choice to take over the number one jersey this year – after only 18 senior appearances – but is ever-present in Leeds’ five games so far.
“Personally it is going to plan,” he said. “I am building on each week and trying to improve each week. I am just striving to be better. I am loving our attack at the moment.
“I think against Catalans it clicked a bit, there were signs of improvement there and going forward we are going to get more time to practice it, so I am looking forward to Wakefield and seeing what we can do.”
With Trinity on a two-game winning run, Golding reckons Leeds will need to up their game for tomorrow’s home derby.
“Last week was a platform and a foundation, but it wasn’t the best performance from us,” he said. “We know we’ve got more and we’ve got to build on it. That’s what we are planning to do this week. We are looking forward to it. We know they are another good team, with strength all over the park and they will be confident.
“They have got strength in depth, the outside-backs are awesome and the forwards lay a platform every week.
“We are under no illusions. We’re not going to be surprised when they come and they play some good rugby.
“We will prepare for that. Every game you play in Super League is going to be a tough, intense game and there’ll be no exception against Wakefield.”
Trinity’s win at St Helens 13 days ago ended an 11-game losing run dating back to July, 2016.
They beat Salford Red Devils to complete back-to-back victories and have won their last three games at Headingley, including the 2015 and 2016 Boxing Day fixtures.
Golding said he was impressed with the way Trinity refused to give up against Saints and Salford. In both matches they held a healthy half-time advantage, saw the opposition strike back to lead going into the final stages, but snatched victory with a late score.
“We back ourselves to see a game out in the end, but I think they do as well,” he said. “It can only make for a great game.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos under-19s take on Castleford Tigers at the Jungle tonight (7.30pm).
l Half-back Jordan Lilley, 20, has rejoined Bradford on another month’s loan after being recalled briefly by Leeds as cover for Rob Burrow.