Leeds Rhinos: Wake-up call with a difference for Yates

Andy Yates
Andy Yates
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DUAL-REGISTERED FORWARD Andy Yates woke up thinking he was going to play for one team on Sunday, but found himself actually turning out for another.

The Leeds prop was named in both Rhinos’ initial 19 to face Salford Red Devils and Hunslet Hawks’ squad for their clash with Whitehaven.

Plan A was a game in the Kingstone Press Championship, but he was drafted into Rhinos’ 17 at short notice after Kallum Watkins pulled out due to illness.

“I thought I was going to play for Hunslet,” confirmed Yates, who has played in Rhinos’ last three matches. “I got a call from Mac [Leeds team boss Brian McDermott] as soon as I woke up really. I had to get ready a bit quicker and jump on the coach and then play for Leeds. I knew I was going to play a game anyway, so I was focused on getting myself prepared for a game.

“I’m just glad I played for Leeds. I did the captain’s run with both teams, so I was prepared for either, but I was made-up to play against Salford and get a win.”

The match two days ago was Yates’ fifth Super League appearance and he added: “It is just a case of being ready to be called up and when I am, doing as well as I can. Even if I am only on for a short period of time I am just trying to impact the game. Obviously it’s tough coming off the bench, having to watch most of the game and then play the last bit, but it’s something I have to do for now.

“Once I am on there I just want to do as well as I can in that short period of time. I am learning every game and the more games you play, the more confident you get.

“I think that’s coming along, so I am happy with myself so far. I am getting a game every week and that’s good. I want to play and if I don’t play for Leeds I end up playing for Hunslet and play a lot of minutes there, so it’s not a bad situation to be in. I like playing for Hunslet, if I don’t play for Leeds.”

Yates began his career in St Helens’ academy, without breaking through to the first team and moved to Hunslet in the hope of getting signed by Leeds. Rhinos visit Saints on Friday and Yates said: “It would be massive to play in that, it would be a really big game to be part of. I am hoping to play, but I’ll just have to see if I get the call.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos prop Kylie Leuluai is facing up to six more weeks on the sidelines after being told he needs surgery.

The 37-year-old has not played since the defeat at Warrington Wolves a month ago and McDermott said: “He is going to have an operation on a shoulder. We thought it was his biceps that was the problem, but he’s actually got a bit of floating tissue in his shoulder which he’s going to have cleaned out.”