Ash Handley 'honoured' to captain Leeds Rhinos: Winger could also take goal kicking role against Huddersfield Giants

He is only standing in at the moment, but Ash Handley says it is an “honour” to captain his hometown club Leeds Rhinos.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 9:52 am

Handley has skippered Leeds for their last two games - in place of Matt Prior, who had Covid - and is set to continue in the role when Huddersfield Giants visit Emerald Headingley tomorrow.

Prior is now out of isolation, but unavailable for this week’s game as he goes through a seven-day return to play protocol.

“It has been good, it is obviously a massive honour to captain my hometown club,” Handley said of the extra responsibility.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Ash Handley has been standing in as Rhinos' captain during Matt Prior's layoff. Picture by Simon Hulme.

“Obviously we didn’t get the result against Castleford, but we turned things around against Leigh and I’m just growing into the role a little bit.”

Handley, 25, made his Leeds debut in 2014 and is one of the longest-serving players in the squad. Of whether he would like the role on a more permanent basis in the future, Handley said: “Maybe so, but I’m not too sure yet.

“I am just taking it as it comes and I’ll just step in when needs be at the minute. Obviously Matty’s going to be captain for the foreseeable, but whenever I’m needed I am here to do a job for the team.”

Handley said being entrusted with the captaincy “gives you a bit of confidence”.

Ash Handley, centre, celebrates a try against Castleford. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Read More

Read More
Leeds Rhinos youngster Morgan Gannon happy to be making an impact on Super Leagu...

The winger insisted: “It’s something I am learning as I go.

“I am just taking it game by game and enjoying it.

“I want to lead by example - a lot of people can say things, but it’s going out and doing them that’s important.

“I do say my piece, but I am not one for talk, talk, talk - I would rather show people what I can do rather than say it.”

Handley could take on another duty tomorrow, as stand-in goal kicker.

First-choice marksmen Rhyse Martin is suspended and his deputy Luke Gale suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

Handley, who kicked one conversion in a defeat at Hull KR in April, is the only other player to have landed a goal for Leeds this year.

“If Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ coach] needs me to do it then I’ll give it a go, but we’ll just see what happens,” Handley said.

“We’ll probably have a competition [today] to see who’s best at kicking and go from there.”

Handley has had a disrupted year, missing the start of the campaign with a knee injury and suffering concussion during his England debut in June.

Last year’s Betfred Super League top try scorer has touched down four times in 10 games and is keeping his targets for the rest of the season simple.

“For me personally, it’s just about staying as fit as I can be,” he vowed.

“The games are coming that thick and fast, it’s pretty much all about getting yourself right for game day.

“You can’t even get a week’s training in at the minute, it is all about getting recovered and then getting yourself back up for a game.

“The season itself has been all over the place, as last year was, so we are just taking it game by game.

"We know what we need to do to stay in the play-offs, so we’ll just get on with it.”

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.