Leeds Rhinos: Harry Newman hoping to be back on right track after injury layoff

STAR CENTRE Harry Newman’s return to the team was one of the few positives from Leeds Rhinos’ 30-16 defeat at Huddersfield Giants.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 12th June 2022, 11:55 am

Rhinos managed to steady the ship after going 22-0 behind inside 31 minutes, outscoring their hosts following the break, but it was Newman’s introduction as a second-half substitute which brought the biggest cheer from the travelling fans.

The 22-year-old England squad member came on for the final half an hour, making only his second appearance of the season.

Newman missed Leeds’ first three Betfred Super League games after suffering a hamstring injury in a pre-season match against Hull five months ago.

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Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman gets away from Wakefield Trinity's Jai Whitbread before his most recent injury layoff earlier this season. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

He made a try-scoring return against Wakefield Trinity in March, but the injury reoccurred in the second half and he underwent surgery that month.

It has been a long road back, but Newman confirmed he got through the game at Huddersfield, his hometown club, unscathed and is hoping for more time on the field when Rhinos resume their campaign away to St Helens on June 23.

“I was itching to get out there the whole game,” Newman said.

“I was up and down the sideline, buzzing to go on, but we planned for 30 minutes and 30 minutes was what I got.

BACK IN THE FRAME: Harry Newman made his return from injury in Friday's 30-16 defeat at Huddersfield Giants. Picture: Steve Riding.

“My hamstring felt great and I felt strong and fast.

“Obviously, the more weeks go by, the longer I am going to play and hopefully I build on this and kick on for the rest of the season.”

The two-week gap between matches gives Newman more time to get himself up to speed, with the benefit of a game under his belt.

“It has been tough, especially having been out for six weeks just before it happened,” he said of his layoff.

Leeds Rhinos' head coach Rohan Smith Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com

“But the medics, the physios, the s and c (strength and conditioning) staff, we’ve all stuck at it and been patient.

“It has been hard, they’ve had to put up with me for the past few weeks, which I am sure has been a challenge, but it’s thanks to them, they have got me in this position.

“I felt confident, my hamstring felt strong.

“That’s a big thanks to them for ticking off everything we needed to do.”

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME: Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman. Picture: Simon Hulme.

Newman warmed up in front of the Leeds fans at half-time - as he prepared to join in the action - and was delighted with their response.

He said: “It was a good reception from them.

“It is great to be back playing and playing in front of an away crowd like that.

“A massive thanks to them for travelling over, I know it’s not the longest of journeys, but there were big numbers there.”

The result was a setback for Rhinos, after successive wins and with a trip to the reigning champions and current league leaders coming up next.

Leeds were beaten 26-0 by Saints at Headingley in April and Newman described the rematch as a “massive test” for the visitors.

But he vowed: “We will take some lessons (from last Friday’s game) and put them into practice against the toughest team in the league.

“We’ve got a fair bit to fix up, but we are improving every week.

“Last week (the 40-4 win at Warrington Wolves) was a great performance.

“We’ve come to a top four side and I know we weren’t great, but we stuck in there until the end, which is all that you can really ask.”

The game at Huddersfield was Newman’s first under Rohan Smith and he feels the new coach is having a positive impact.

“We are heading in the right direction,” he said.

“There’s a much better vibe around the place.

“Training’s great and the lads are close.

“In the conversations behind the sticks when Huddersfield scored, no one was putting their heads down, everyone was focusing on the next job.

“All we can do is improve each week and the results will eventually come.”