Leeds Rhinos: Missed call turned out to be good news for prop Singleton

LEEDS RHINOS' stand-in captain Brad Singleton got a boost when he listened to a recent voicemail.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 5:00 am
Brad Singleton. PIC: Steve Riding

Singleton missed a call from coach Brian McDermott and discovered he has been made skipper for the Boxing Day game at Wakefield Trinity when he played back his messages.

The 25-year-old front-rower reckons it is an honour to be chosen, but shrugged off speculation he could be in line for the job on a permanent basis.

McDermott has settled on a successor for departed captain Danny McGuire, but is yet to make his decision public.

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Stevie Ward. PIC: Tony Johnson

“It’s great,” Singleton said of his new duty.

“It will be a great occasion and I’m looking forward to it.

“He [McDermott] left me a voicemail the other day, after I missed the call.

“I will take it in my stride and my role won’t change too much.

Stevie Ward. PIC: Tony Johnson

“I am quite vocal anyway and I wouldn’t like it to change too much because then you might get something I’m not, but I am confident about being a good captain on that day.”

Props are often neglected for captaincy duties as they tend to play in spells, rather than the full game, but Singleton stressed: “I like to play big minutes, so hopefully I won’t be off the field for too long.”

Kallum Watkins, Stevie Ward and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, none of whom will play on Boxing Day, are leading contenders to be Rhinos’ permanent captain.

Asked if he would like the role on a long-term basis, Singleton – who made his debut in 2011 – said: “That’s not my call.

“People higher up than me will make that decision and it’s whoever they pick. It is out of my hands. I’ll just turn up and hopefully put a good game behind me.

“There’s a great group of leaders here, the likes of Jonesy, Stevie and Kallum.

“They will all do a job and whoever the captain goes to, there are leaders there who won’t be quiet just because of that.

“We will all work together to hopefully get a good year going.”

Singleton has moved up Leeds’ pecking order from No 16 into the coveted 10 shirt – previously worn by the likes of Barrie McDermott and Jamie Peacock – for 2018.

“I look to start games and play long minutes and do myself justice,” he said of his personal objectives for the new campaign.

“Within the changing rooms I don’t mind speaking. I don’t know if much will change, but that’s what my aim will be.”

Singleton had just a month’s break after starring for Ireland in the World Cup.

He reckons that improved him as a player and person, following an impressive club campaign when he made 28 appearances, only one of those as a substitute.

“We signed off in great fashion at the end of 2017, with the win at Old Trafford,” Singleton said.

“We got rid of our demons against Castleford and then to get stripped away from that and thrown into a group I don’t really know, to a comp I’ve never been in and a country I’d never played rugby in, it was great to do.

“You learn a lot about yourself.

“It was a good experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”