Here to help out - Brett Ferres explains his loan return to Leeds Rhinos from Featherstone Rovers

Exactly a year on from his last appearance, Brett Ferres is “delighted” to be back at Leeds Rhinos, but insists he has returned to help the club out - not to block young players’ progress.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 6:00 am
Brett Ferres scores for Rhinos at Wigan last season. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The back-rower spent four seasons with Rhinos, making 86 appearances - the last of them in a win at London Broncos on September 1 last year - before joining Rovers at the end of 2019 to spearhead their bid for promotion to Betfred Super League.

He played six times for Rovers in league and cup - all of them wins - before the Championship campaign was abandoned because of coronavirus.

He is on an initial one-month deal at Leeds, having signed a contract extension to the end of 2021 with Featherstone during lockdown.

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Brett Ferres, far right, closes in as Sam Walters makes a break for Leeds in a pre-season game at Featherstone. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The 34-year-old - who has also played for Bradford Bulls, Wakefield Trinity, Castleford Tigers and Huddersfield Giants and was capped 14 times by England - revealed he first spoke to Rhinos coach Richard Agar and director of rugby Kevin Sinfield “a couple of weeks ago”.

He said: “With what’s going on with Covid and stuff it is a good opportunity to come back and, hopefully, help the cause a little bit.

“With the injuries they have sustained in the pack, they were thinking about getting a couple of forwards in, just to lighten the load and bolster the squad a bit.

“With the games coming up - and the midweek ones - it is good for the club to get some more bodies in.

James Harrison, centre, has also joined Leeds on loan from Rovers. Picture by Steve Riding.

“I am delighted to come back and help in any way, shape or form I can - whether that is helping the younger players or actually playing.

“It is down to the club what they want to do - they have some really good players in key positions and some cracking young players who could get some game time as well. It is about what’s best for the club, it’s not about me this one.”

The 2017 Grand Final winner last played in February, but confirmed he has trained throughout the shutdown.

“As a group at Fev we’ve been hanging on for the season to resume and to see what’s going on so we’ve all trained and done our own things at home and when things have been relaxed a bit we’ve been able to do little things together,” he added.

“I have been training all the way through the summer and keeping ticking over. We have had to train and stay pretty ready so I’d like to think I am all right.

“I am pretty fit and I am ready to go, refreshed mentally and the body as well.”

Ferres trained with Leeds for the first time in his loan spell yesterday, along with Rovers team-mate James Harrison who is at Rhinos on a similar deal.

“I went in and did a bit of testing to see where you’re at, then a bit of weights and some training with the boys who didn’t play [last weekend] and the injured ones,” said Ferres.

He is available for Thursday’s derby against Wakefield at Emerald Headingley, but insisted: “Hopefully for the club there’s a few players back who have missed the last few weeks and there’s some good young kids there as well so it would be good to see them get a shot.”

Rhinos bounced back from successive defeats with a 50-12 demolition of Salford Red Devils three days ago.

Ferres has kept a close eye on his former team and said: “It is so difficult, coming back from the lockdown, but once they get going and get some fit bodies back I think they are going to be all right, I think they will be a force again.

“It’s just getting out there and getting those connections and some continuity back in the side.

“Everyone’s in the same boat and you are trying to do it as quick as possible; sometimes you miss the little things and forget the basics and fundamentals of running a bit harder and tackling a bit harder than everyone else. Build your game on that and, hopefully, you won’t go far wrong.”

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Laura Collins