Leeds Rhinos’ England World Cup hopeful Harry Newman reports no adverse injury reaction
ENGLAND WORLD Cup hopeful Harry Newman has confirmed he came through his comeback match for Leeds Rhinos unscathed.
Newman was selected in the starting line-up for last Friday’s 27-18 defeat at Catalans Dragons which was his first appearance since September 24 last year.
Newman summed up how he was feeling after the game in one word: “Knackered.”
But he was happy with his performance - before a lack of match fitness took its toll in the second half - and keen to get more game time under his belt when Salford Red Devils visit Emerald Headingley in four days’ time.
Leeds’ second defeat by Catalans in eight days was a tough game in hot conditions and Newman felt Rhinos missed an opportunity after leading by 16 points at the interval.
But, on a personal note, the 21-year-old was delighted to be back on the field, just a week after being given the all clear by a specialist.
“It has been a long time, 10 months,” he recalled.
“I was really excited to get out there.
“In the first half I felt really good, really confident.
“That’s down to everything I’ve done and all the steps I have taken.
“In the second half I just lacked that match fitness that’s going to come over the next couple of weeks.”
The target now for Newman is to play every week and have a strong second half of the season.
“I felt ‘on’ with my decision-making,” he added.
“It was just my match fitness that let me down, but that would be the same with anyone coming back from a 10-month injury.
“I guess it will take a couple of games to get back into it, but I was happy with that first half especially.”
Of the leg he broke last year, Newman said: “I didn’t feel it at all, I was completely confident in it.”
Newman was thrown in at the deep end against the Betfred Super League leaders, on their own turf in the south of France, at the height of summer.
Rhinos’ squad travelled to and from Perpignan on the day of the game, because of coronavirus restrictions.
“It was 30 degrees and we were travelling all day,” Newman recalled.
But he insisted: “It’s not an excuse for us.
“We were 18-2 up at half-time and we just didn’t play well enough in that second half.
“We didn’t have enough discipline.
“Myself included, we were dropping the ball coming out of yardage and it’s not good enough if you want to beat a side who have only lost one game all year. We were very disappointed. That’s two weeks in a row now.
“We don’t think it was them that beat us, it was our own discipline and ball control that has let us down again.”
In the back-to-back meeting with Catalans, Rhinos scored 36 first-half points and conceded 10, but were beaten by a combined score of 53-0 after that. Looking back at last Friday, Newman said: “Even in the first half there were times when our discipline let us down and that would probably have put us further ahead at half-time, like last week.”
Rhinos beat this Friday’s visitors 38-12 at the end of last month and Newman reckons it’s a vital fixture.
“We have got to start winning games if we want to compete at the end of the year,” he warned.
“It’s all right saying we were close, but we are very disappointed with [last weekend’s] result because we know we could have come away with two points.”
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