Centre switch takes Leeds Rhinos' Tom Briscoe back to his roots

A new role with Leeds Rhinos has taken Tom Briscoe back to his roots.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:45 am
Tom Briscoe scores the first of his two tries in Rhinos' big win at Castleford. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Tom Briscoe scores the first of his two tries in Rhinos' big win at Castleford. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The former Hull and England man has played three successive games as a centre, including last week’s 60-6 win at Castleford Tigers.

Normally a winger, he admitted the change is “different, but I am enjoying it” - and confirmed it is not a totally unfamiliar position.

“It has been a while since I’ve played there, but it has been going all right, I think,” he said.

Jack Broadbent was Briscoe's winger against Hull, scoring an early try. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“I came through as a centre, my first couple of years in Super League I played centre, but then got moved to the wing and I’ve stayed there ever since.

“I’ve been taking it right back to when I first started.”

A heavier defensive workload is one of the differences between centre and wing.

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“Sometimes in the centres you’re actually leading, running lines and things like that on the back of plays, so it’s just about knowing when and where you have to be, which is a bit more than you have to do on the wing.”

The plan last week was to switch the left-wing/centre roles between Briscoe and Jack Broadbent, but - with things going well from the start - coach Richard Agar left them as they were.

Briscoe ran in two tries and was involved in another, but insisted he profited from a strong all-round effort.

“I think overall, as a team we really shone, but it was pleasing to have a few involvements and get a couple of tries as well,” he added.

The win at Castleford was only Rhinos’ third in nine competitive games this year, but Briscoe stressed: “I think as a team we felt that coming.

“In the last few weeks we’d created opportunities, but not quite executed and probably took the wrong option as few times.

“I think [last weekend] it all came together and took us back to how we used to play and how we can play when we are on.”

Rhinos have no fixture this weekend and won’t be back on the field until St Helens visit Emerald Headingley on Friday, June 11.

“A break at this time will be good for us,” Briscoe predicted.

More - Here's what could be on Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar's agenda this week“It’s a chance to get over any bumps and bruises and get a bit of a rest up for what is a massive game next week and a real test of where we are at as a team.”

Rhinos have lost their last seven meetings with Saints, including a 26-18 Challenge Cup defeat two months ago, but they gave Saints a scare that afternoon with a makeshift side including two forwards in the half-back positions.

“We really showed up against them with a severely depleted team,” Briscoe recalled.

“We really took it to them and unfortunately, in the end, their class got the win, but I think with a bit more shape, some more people back and confidence from last week, it will be a different game.”

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