Leap forward for Leeds' Rhinos' Harry Newman as he begins outdoor running five months on from broken leg
Young player of the year Harry Newman is today set to take a major step forward in his recovery from a badly broken leg.
The Leeds Rhinos centre is due to run on grass for the first time since his horrific injury in a win over Hull KR at Warrington last September.
But Newman - chosen as Betfred Super League’s outstanding youngster in 2020 - accepts he will miss Rhinos’ season opener against Wakefield Trinity a month tomorrow and has pledged not to rush back before he is ready.
“I have done two weeks on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill],” Newman revealed.
“We started at 50 per cent body weight and you build up each session.
“I was running at 90 per cent this week and I start running on the grass on Friday.
“I am in the 21st week now since my operation and it’ll be the biggest week, providing everything goes to plan and we tick off everything we need to.”
Newman reported no ill effects from his indoor running and is in upbeat mood despite his long layoff.
“It has gone really well,” he said.
“You have some days when it’s a bit sorer than others, but that’s how it is bound to be, coming back from the injury I had.
“But for every bad day there’s always a couple of good days to follow. Obviously there have been tough days [during his recovery] but I’ve tried to make sure those tough days don’t turn into weeks.
“That’s the important thing, you have days when you’re down and you think the worst, but the next day you pick yourself back up and go again.
“Luckily, I haven’t had many of those days and I’ve been positive all the way through.”
Newman can now see light at the end of the tunnel and added: “I am eager to get back into training.
“Watching the boys, you just want to be out there, but there is no rush.
“I won’t be rushing anything, I’ll be making sure it is right.”
Coach Richard Agar has already confirmed Newman will not be available for Super League round one.
The player said: “I only turned 21 last week so I’ve still - touch wood - got a long career ahead of me and I don’t want to rush this back, then that affects the rest.
More - From fan to future star - Leeds Rhinos have high hopes for teenage prospect Levi Edwards“I’ll make sure we tick every box and get everything right and then I’ll look forward to the season.”
Newman scored two tries in 12 appearances last year and was called into the England performance squad, before fracturing a tibia and fibula.
Speaking to the media last month, national coach Shaun Wane confirmed he is a “big fan” of Newman, but the centre insisted he has to focus on getting back to full fitness and form for Leeds before he can think about an England call up for this year’s World Cup.
“At a young age, to be a part of that group is exciting,” Newman said.
“But I know I have got to get back from this injury, that’s the main priority at the minute and I am just focussing on that.
“When I get back to playing and hopefully hitting the form I was last season, then I can start to think about that again.
“For me, it’s just about the main thing which is getting my leg right.”
Newman will have competition for his place in Rhinos’ side when he is cleared to play.
Liam Sutcliffe finished last year in the left-centre, with Konrad Hurrell on the right and Alex Sutcliffe, Jack Broadbent and Corey Hall are also vying for a spot.
Newman said: “It’s always good when you’ve got competition, especially two players like them [Liam Sutcliffe and Hurrell] and the way they were playing at the end of last season.
“I have still got a bit to go before I am going to be back in and then it’s going to be about who Rich picks and who plays best, but I am sure he will manage to fit us all into the side if we are playing well.”
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