Liam Sutcliffe: Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett deserve to go out on a high at Leeds Rhinos
IT HAS been a long, disappointing season but we definitely want to finish with a win tomorrow night – for ourselves and for a Leeds legend.
It is Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s last game for the club and he deserves to go out on a high.
It was great to see him back last week, scoring a try and celebrating the way he did.
He is one of the club’s all-time greats and we need to send him off in the right manner.
I watched him when I was younger and he is somebody I have always looked up to.
Going on to play with him and see the influence he has around the place has been great. Some of the stories he tells and the speeches he makes have been fantastic to listen to and he will be missed around the boys.
He has a lot of experience and has been a big part of the group throughout all the time I have been playing for Leeds.
When he talks you listen, because it’s something you have never heard before and the things he comes out with are very valuable.
He has helped me a lot, even when I wasn’t playing in his position.
I came through as a half-back, but he was still good with me and a massive help and influence.
I’m sure everyone in the group would say that.
It’s the same with Carl Ablett.
He has been injured all year and we have really missed him and his experience and what he brings to the team. I want to wish Jonesy and Abbo all the best for the future.
It looks like we are going to finish eighth whatever happens against Warrington this week and that’s nothing to celebrate or get excited about.
We are used to winning things and competing for trophies and it has been a disappointing year.
A team like Leeds should be up near the top of the table or playing in finals every season, but it is what it is and, once this last game is out of the way, we can regroup and start afresh for the new campaign.
I thought we had a good enough squad this year to do something and, obviously, it hasn’t turned out that way but we’ve got a coach in place now and it is good news Richard Agar is staying in charge; he has come in and steadied the ship.
I don’t think he has changed too much. Coming in halfway through the season, he hasn’t had chance to do that but he will get a pre-season now to put all his ideas into practice and I am confident he can take us forward and we can have a good year in 2020.
The season isn’t quite over for me as I am in the England Knights performance squad and we have got a game against Jamaica at Headingley coming up next month. Apart from that, the next few weeks will be about getting away and trying to rest up as much as possible before we get stuck into what’s going to be a tough pre-season.
It has been a gruelling year and I am looking forward to a bit of a break, getting away for a while and just putting my feet up.
We normally get five or six weeks off but pre-season will come around pretty quickly.
We get our own fitness programme just to keep us ticking over and make sure we come back in good shape but, for the first few weeks, everyone just tries to rest and get over any bumps and bruises and think about something other than rugby.
There’s a lot of training and intense work that goes on throughout the year, from pre-season to now and this is our only proper time to rest.
I’ll start to do a bit more as we get nearer the start of pre-season.
It’s good we aren’t in the relegation battle this week. I feel for all the players, clubs and fans involved in that.
Everyone thought London would go down but, fair play to them, they have had a great year and they aren’t going away.
It will be sad for whoever gets relegated but I can’t really call it – and it’s the same at the top.
Everyone thought Saints would run away with the Challenge Cup but Warrington played great in the final and got the win there.
They are in the mix, Salford have had a great year and Wigan have come into their own, so I think it is too close to call.