Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants: Plenty still to come from milestone man Tom Briscoe

LONG-SERVING BACK Tom Briscoe will achieve two major milestones when Leeds Rhinos take on Huddersfield Giants at Headingley tonight.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 6:03 am
Tom Briscoe is set to make his 300th Super League appearance and play his 200th game for Leeds Rhinos tonight. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Tom Briscoe is set to make his 300th Super League appearance and play his 200th game for Leeds Rhinos tonight. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

It will be Briscoe’s 300th Super League game and his 200th appearance for Leeds in all competitions.

The Featherstone-born winger-turned-centre joined Rhinos from Hull ahead of the 2014 season and is the club’s second longest-serving current player, after Liam Sutcliffe.

A two-time Grand Final winner, having featured in the 2015 treble success and Leeds’ Old Trafford victory two years later, he was also a Challenge Cup champion in 2014, 2015 – when he scored a record five tries in a Lance Todd Trophy-winning performance – and 2020.

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Leeds Rhinos' Tom Briscoe. Picture: Steve Riding.

“I was completely unaware of that,” Briscoe said of the impending milestones.

“The Leeds one is a big one, it’s a nice achievement.

“I made my Super League debut for Hull in 2008 so it has been a while.

“To rack up that many and still be going is something to be proud of.”

Briscoe, who had a testimonial game against Hull in pre-season, turned 32 at the end of last month and is in the final season of his Rhinos contract.

He switched from wing to centre last season, when he was ever-present and has yet to miss a game in 2022.

“I am feeling good this season, my body’s still holding up and I’d like to think I’ll play on for a few more years yet,” he said.

“If either my body or my mind tells me I am not giving it 100 per cent I will probably call it a day at that point, but I am feeling good at the minute and enjoying it still, which is the main thing.

“I’d like [to play on for] a few more years at least.”

Of his future after this year, Briscoe said: “Obviously I would like to stay at Leeds.

“There’s no talks as of yet, with things that are going on at the minute I am not sure when that will start, but I have been here a long time and I would like to stay.”

Rhinos are in the process of searching for a new head coach to replace Richard Agar who resigned three weeks ago.

Tonight will be Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s third game as interim-boss and he is looking for his first win.

Rhinos have had two weeks to prepare and Briscoe insisted: “I think the atmosphere and everything around the camp got a bit low, confidence was low and it ends up in poor performances.

“That’s what we’ve seen and I think it has been good to get away and get back to some training, improving and also getting that team spirit back.

“We’ve been trying to work on those relationships that obviously get stressed as the pressure builds.”

Tonight is the first of three games in nine days, with Leeds visiting Castleford Tigers on Monday and playing host to Toulouse Olympique a week tomorrow.

“There’s a lot of games crammed into a short space of time so if we can tick off some good wins, that’s six ponts up for grabs and hopefully we can go on a bit of a run,” Briscoe said.

“But we know we’ve got to first concentrate on game by game and make sure we are putting in improved performances and getting better with each game and showing our potential, really.”

Tonight is part of Betfred Super League’s ‘rivals round’.

While Giants aren’t traditionally one of Rhinos’ fiercest adversaries, recent games between the teams have tended to be close and hard fought.

Huddersfield are through to the semi-finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup and sit third in the table, with five wins from their seven league matches.

Briscoe said: “They are a real threat, it is always tough against Huddersfield.

“It is a local derby, so they will be up for it.

“They are in form and playing well so we know we have got to be better than we have been. We have been training to improve our performances so hopefully we’ll see some of that transfer into the game.

“We all know we need better performances and results, that’s the main thing now.”

Leeds Rhinos: from Walker, Sutcliffe, Handley, Austin, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Bentley, Martin, Tetevano, Dwyer, Mellor, Smith, Thompson, Briscoe, Gannon, Broadbent, O’Connor, Donaldson, Mustapha, Tindall.

Huddersfield Giants: from McGillvary, Leutele, Golding, Lolohea, Fages, Hill, Levi, Lawrence, Jones, McQueen, Yates, English, Greenwood, Cogger, Trout, O’Brien, Wilson, Cudjoe, L Senior, Russell, I Senior.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).

Kick-off: Today, 8pm.

Meanwhile, Rhinos under-18s play Wigan Warriors in a curtain-raiser at Headingley this afternoon (5.45pm).