Leeds Rhinos' Matt Prior relishes partnership with Zane Tetevano and predicts better performance against Castleford Tigers

Player of the year Matt Prior expects to form a strong partnership with Kiwi powerhouse Zane Tetevano for Leeds Rhinos this season.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:00 am
Matt Prior looks to offload in Rhinos' win over Wakefield last week. Picture by Allan McKenzieSWpix.com

Tetevano was Rhinos’ only debutant in the Betfred Super League round one win over Wakefield last Saturday after fellow new signings Kyle Eastmond and King Vuniyayawa weren’t selected.

Prior played against Tetevano in the NRL and reckons the former Penrith Panthers powerhouse has “brought heaps to the club already”.

The Aussie forward said: “He has a lot of experience, he has been at some great clubs and you can tell that with the way he holds himself at training.

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“The knowledge and information he can pass on to the rest of us is really good and I thought for his first game he was really good.

“I am looking forward to forming a good, strong combination with him throughout the year.”

Prior had just three week’s pre-season with Rhinos after arriving back in Leeds from Australia early last month and is confident he and the team will improve with more game time.

“It was my first hit-out and I was kind of wondering how I’d go,” Prior said.

“I hadn’t got too much training under my belt; I had done enough, I thought, but I was just happy to get out there and have a good hit out and get some confidence out of that.

“We will be better this week, there were a few little defensive slip-ups in the game, you could say.

“We were pretty good in patches, but defensively a couple of times we let them off the hook and they scored some really good tries.

“I don’t want to take anything away from them, they played some good footy and we were just glad to get the win.”

Rhinos were crushed 30-4 by Hull in round one last year and Prior admitted: “It doesn’t matter how we got the job done, we got it done.

“There’s a few key positional changes at the moment and we have got a little bit of work to do on our edges in terms of combinations and things like that.

“We will definitely get better. A few guys have just come into the team and they did really well, but there’s a few little things to work on and we will be better for it.”

Rhinos are back in derby action tomorrow against Castleford Tigers at St Helens’ TW Stadium.

Tigers beat Warrington Wolves 21-12 the day after Leeds’ game and Prior noted: “They played some good footy, they competed well.

“I think they will be a good team this year, a team to beat and we are definitely going to have to be on our game this weekend to get the two points, but I think we are ready for them.”

Rhinos return to Saints eight days later to begin their Betfred Challenge Cup defence.

The clash with the Super League champions is a huge game for both clubs, but Prior insisted Rhinos are “just focussing on this job first”.

He said: “We aren’t getting too far ahead of ourselves. We need to worry about this one first and we’ll worry about next week, next week.”

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