'It's not even close to how it normally is' - Konrad Hurrell can't wait to see Leeds Rhinos fans back at matches

Leeds Rhinos cult hero Konrad Hurrell is counting the days until fans can return to rugby league.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 8:40 am

It is more than a year since Rhinos last played in front of a crowd, in a 66-12 win over Toronto Wolfpack on March 5 last year.

Plans are for a limited number of spectators to be admitted to stadiums from the middle of May and Hurrell admitted “I think every player is dying to see the fans back.”

The Tongan is famous for singing along to ‘Marching On Together’ as Rhinos walk out for home games and high-fiving the crowd after wins.

Konrad Hurrell scores for Rhinos at an empty TW Stadium, St Helens, last season. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“The game is not even close to how it normally is when there’s no fans,” he admitted of playing behind closed doors.

“Hopefully sometime soon we will see the fans coming back and watching the games.”

Rhinos play their only pre-season fixture when they visit Huddersfield Giants on Sunday.

Despite some injuries, Hurrell insisted: “Everyone is fighting for positions - second-rowers, centres, even the middles; pretty much everywhere you have got to earn your position.

Konrad Hurrell, with ball, training at Rhinos' Kirkstall base. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos.

“I think that’s why it has been tough at training and good at the same time - everyone’s training hard and enjoying each other’s company as well. It has been good, apart from not having everyone out there.”

Rhinos have made three off-season signings, but Hurrell reckons the number of young players emerging from the academy is adding to competition for places.

Several rookies got a chance last year when first-choice players were rested before or after big Challenge Cup ties and Hurrell believes that experience has been reflected in the way they have trained during pre-season.

“All of them are doing well,” Hurrell said.

“Young Corey [Hall] is in good shape, I think he has bulked up a bit and he is looking good.

“Liam Tindall looked really good in the game against Catalans last year and we’ve got young Morgan [Gannon], Levi [Edwards]- there’s a few there who have got the potential.

“They just need a bit more time to mature more in the game and I reckon they will be flying.

“Some of them are 16/17 and it is pretty crazy how big they are.”

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