Leeds Rhinos’ Test star Zane Tetevano anxious to make up for lost time
TEST FORWARD Zane Tetevano will be anxious to put recent frustration behind him when he makes his Leeds Rhinos comeback at home to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday.
Tetevano has now completed a two-match suspension for a high tackle in Rhinos’ defeat at Salford Red Devils last month. That was the Cook Islands and New Zealand Test front-rower’s third ban since joining Leeds ahead of last season.
He was also suspended for four matches after being sent-off in a Challenge Cup loss to St Helens a year ago and stood down for three following a high tackle in a league win at Wigan Warriors last August.
Rhinos have had nine players suspended over different incidents this season, but nobody is ruled out for disciplinary reasons this week.
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Following a meeting between coach and match officials, there have been fewer cards handed out in recent matches, but Tetevano admitted the early-season clampdown has been frustrating.
“You don’t want to be too passive,” he said. “I want to play my game the way I have always played. I have only had issues with suspensions since I’ve arrived here.
“I have never intentionally wanted to go out there and do things wrong, but obviously I have got to work on a few things.
“I feel like anything can happen and you’re going to get a red or yellow card, but at the same time we have got to respect the game and our opponents.
“Obviously I need to work on a few things, but I just need to get back to my style and being consistent.”
The layoff, plus last week without a fixture following Rhinos’ early Betfred Challenge Cup exit, has given Tetevano an opportunity to work on things in training.
He said: “I am just trying to build on the last couple of weeks. It is always hard [missing games], all you want to do is be with your team-mates and try and help them turn the season around.
“This week [without a game] has been an opportunity for us to get some work done.”
Rhinos have lost seven of their eight competitive games this year and are second from bottom in Betfred Super League, with only points difference separating them from current wooden spoonists Toulouse Olympique.
Leeds were tipped as a potential top four side before the campaign began and Tetevano admitted it is difficult to pinpoint a reason for their poor start.
“We’ve got people missing in key positions,” he said. “Richie Myler is a big loss with his skill set and his ability to finish things off.
“Wakka [Jack Walker] has been doing an awesome job, he has been competing so well, but they are two different full-backs. I don’t know where to pin-point it, to be quite honest, but I think it’s just a slight disconnection in executing our plays.
“We are a good side, but things are not connecting as well as they should be. I think we are on the up now, a lot of people might write us off and say we’re not going to get it right, but I am quite optimistic.
“It has been a bad start to the year, but we know where we’re at and what we need to do.”
The next few weeks could turn things around. After Giants, Rhinos travel to Castleford Tigers, who are third from bottom and then play host to Toulouse.
“We aren’t in the Challenge Cup so it gives us another chance to work on things,” he said. “There’s been a bit of chaos happening, but Jamie [Jones-Buchanan, Rhinos’ interim-coach] has stepped in and it’s quite refreshing. It is a journey we are all buying into and, even though we haven’t been winning, there’s a good feel.”