german international Jimmy Keinhorst is ready to put an injury-hit year behind him and show Wakefield Trinity Wildcats what he’s capable of.
Keinhorst is on a year’s loan from Leeds Rhinos, but tomorrow’s clash with Catalan Dragons in Perpignan will be only his fifth appearance after a succession of setbacks.
Keinhorst suffered a dislocated shoulder in Rhinos’ win at Salford last August, then damaged a hamstring in Wildcats’ first game of the season – also away to Salford – before suffering a recurrence on his comeback, at home to St Helens in March.
That kept him out of action until earlier this month, when he returned in the home win over Rhinos. He backed up last week against Widnes Vikings in another home victory, when his chase back to catch winger Patrick Ah Van and prevent a certain try proved a pivotal moment.
“It is good to be back playing again,” Keinhorst said.
“It has been a pretty frustrating season up to now, with the injury, but I am back now and hopefully I will get a good few games in before the end of the season.”
Of the hamstring problem, he said: “Initial thoughts were it wasn’t too bad.
“It seemed like just a normal strain, but when I came back I got a worse tear and it put me out for a considerable amount of time.
“With something like that you don’t expect to be out for so long so it got a bit frustrating for me. Sometimes these things happen and you have to be patient and get it right.
“I had to make sure it was right this time around, before I started back playing again.”
Keinhorst, who made his debut for Leeds away to Wakefield in July 2012, had hoped to get a full season’s rugby for Wildcats.
“I got back from the shoulder injury and I was all fine and ready for the start of the season,” he recalled.
“I was hoping to hit the ground running and get some good games under my belt, but that has not been the case.
“But you have to take it as it comes. Looking forward, I want to play in as many of the games left as I can and hopefully I can have an impact in them.
“I have got through both games so far injury-free and I am happy with that.
It is tough to come back after so long out, but hopefully I have done all right for the team and for (coach) James Webster.
“I respect him a lot, he has had a lot of confidence and faith in me and hopefully I can do a good job for him.”
Rhinos’ management are keeping a close eye on Keinhorst’s progress at Wakefield, so his return in the 16-12 win over his parent club was timely.
“It was a bit of a strange feeling,” he said.
“But I am a Wakefield player at the moment and I was happy to get the win.”
Wildcats are unbeaten in five matches – with four wins – since Webster took over from Richard Agar as coach last month.
That run has made them safe from relegation and they are just two points outside the top-eight.
Keinhorst observed: “Things have turned around a bit.
“It always seems to happen with a change of coach.
“Maybe it freshens things up a bit, but the boys are really working hard for each other and that’s the key. It’s the commitment for each other.
“Credit to the lads, we are unbeaten in five now and we have got some good wins. We have also made it hard for ourselves at times with the defence we’ve had to do, but we want to see if we can take that forward and see how things go from here.”