Here's why Leeds Rhinos' Rhyse Martin expects to be battered and bruised after battle at Super League form team Warrington Wolves
Like most of his teammates, Leeds Rhinos’ Rhyse Martin is preparing for his third game in nine days on Monday, but a stint in the centres means he isn’t as battered as he might have been.
After a month without a fixture, Rhinos won at Salford Red Devils eight days ago and beat Leigh Centurions last Thursday.
Following the trip to third-placed Warrington Wolves, they are at home against Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons on Friday.
It is a tough schedule and injuries and suspensions mean coach Richard Agar doesn’t have the option of rotating his squad.
Martin played in both last week’s matches, but was in the backs against Leigh and admitted: “That’s the beauty of playing centre - I am actually feeling quite good.”
He said: “I think Konny [Hurrell] is back this week after his head knock so I am not too sure if I’ll be back in the second-row, but I guess I will be - and I reckon after Monday my body will be in a bit of a different condition!”
Martin featured in the halves earlier this season and added: “You might talk to me at the end of the year and I could’ve played every position on the field.
“Centre is fun; believe it or not, I started as a centre back when I was at high school.
“It was good to get back out there, it’s a little bit different nowadays, but I’ve got a little bit of speed still.”
Leigh are bottom of Super League and have not won this season, but Martin insisted Rhinos can take confidence from the way their makeshift lineup, including six players aged 20 or younger, performed.
“I was saying to one of the boys, we had every reason to lose that game,” he remarked.
“But even when we were doing it tough at the start of the year, we hung in in every game we played and gave it our best.
“The tables are turning for us, the guys that come in know what they need to do and they’re not just filling spots now, they are actually winning us the game or doing something to change the game.
“The boys who got a game [on Thursday] did really, really well and I am happy for them.”
Last week’s return of experienced stand-off Rob Lui, from a quad muscle injury suffered in pre-season, has also given Rhinos a boost.
“He only really had the team run with us, that’s all he’d done,” Martin said.
“It was really good to get him back.
“Give him another three or four games and he will be flying again.
“I am just happy he got through that healthy, with no injuries and his calf held up, which is really good.”
The win over Leigh was Rhinos’ third in succession and Martin noted: “I think, as a group, we are doing really well.
“When you are winning games everyone’s a lot happier and buying in a lot more.
"Things are starting to work out for us now, even though we are still playing with boys injured and off with suspensions.
"I think everyone’s starting to find their feet a bit.”
Warrington away will be a bigger test.
They are on a six-game winning streak in Super League and Martin warned: “They have been playing really well, they are probably going to be the toughest challenge we’ve come up against in the last couple of weeks.
“But what we’ve been doing really well is just focusing on us and what we can control.
"Hopefully, whatever happens, it’s going to be a really good game.
"If we just focus on what we’ve been doing well, that’s all we can do and I am confident we’ll get a win.
“But we have got to give Warrington the respect they deserve at the moment, because they are the form team.
“We have got to give it our best crack.”
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