IT IS a big step up from the Championship to Super League, but Jimmy Keinhorst insists playing with Hunslet Hawks left him in good shape for his Leeds Rhinos return.
Last Thursday’s 24-24 draw at Huddersfield Giants was Keinhorst’s first Super League appearance of the season after he was recalled from a spell on dual-registration with partner club Hunslet.
“Super League is a bit different, intensity-wise, the collision and the speed of it,” Keinhorst admitted.
“You have got to always be spot-on with your awareness.
“That’s the main difference, but the Championship is a very strong league as well.
“There’s plenty of good players and good teams in that league, so it has prepared me quite well for it.”
Keinhorst made his Rhinos debut in 2012, becoming the first German international to play in Super League and coming off the bench in that year’s Challenge Cup final.
He had a loan stint at Hunslet the following year and spent most of last season on loan at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, returning to feature just once for Rhinos.
Now a member of Rhinos’ elite top-20 squad, the 24-year-old got his chance due to injuries to wingers Tom Briscoe and Ryan Hall.
He slotted in at centre, with Kallum Watkins playing out of position on the wing, which allowed Carl Ablett to revert back to his preferred position in the second-row.
As well as a rise in the standard of the competition, Keinhorst had to adjust to playing in the three-quarters, after switching to the pack during his time at Hunslet.
“I found out I was playing last Wednesday, at the last team run,” said Keinhorst, who scored a brace of tries for Hawks in their win at Workington Town.
“I have been playing a bit of back-row with Hunslet and enjoying it there, but I’ve played a bit of centre in the past, so it was all right. It wasn’t too much of a transition, it’s only one place out and in, sort of on the edge.
“It wasn’t too bad and I enjoyed it getting back into the team, though we all felt a bit disappointed with the result after we had a big lead at half-time.”
Keinhorst is hoping to keep his place for Sunday’s visit to Widnes Vikings, when Rhinos will aim to end a short but unwanted run of two games without a win.
“It’s good, obviously, to get in there,” he said.
“It’s the first step. Hopefully I did enough to keep my spot for Sunday.
“I just need to build on [last week’s] performance. I’ll look at what I did well and what I can work on. I’ll take that into the next game and take it step-by step.”