Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR: Mitch Garbutt gears up for ‘hostile’ Headingley ‘homecoming’

Former Rhinos forward Mitch Garbutt is hoping for a kind reception on his first return to Emerald Headingley as a Hull KR player.

Thursday, 11th July 2019, 3:09 pm
Mitch Garbutt.
New Hull KR coach Tony Smith.

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Garbutt joined Rovers at the end of last season, but was injured when they lost 28-24 at Leeds in April.

“It is going to be good,” he predicted. “I haven’t played here for Rovers yet and, hopefully, they don’t boo me too much!

“The crowd are normally pretty hostile, but I have got nothing but fond memories from here.

“They are a great set of fans and I had a really good time.”

Garbutt, who still lives close to Leeds’ ground, has no desire to see Rhinos relegated, but knows Rovers need to start winning soon to ensure their survival isn’t at his new club’s expense.

“It’s probably not a must-win game in that if we lose we might not lose our jobs, but we need to perform,” he admitted of tomorrow’s four-pointer.

“We need to have as many other teams not picking up points and we need to start climbing that ladder.

“We are due a response from the poor effort we put in last weekend.”

Garbutt is one of six former Rhinos players in Rovers’ initial 19-man squad.

Four of those won at least one Grand Final during their Leeds career and coach Tony Smith led Rhinos to two Super League triumphs.

“Tony has come in and put a lot of onus on the players,” Garbutt reported.

“He has not tried to change too much technically, he’s just said we need to improve in our effort areas.

“For four weeks we were doing that, but last Friday at Wigan it was like they had another two men out there and they were scoring at will.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and take a look at ourselves.”