Leeds Rhinos’ victory over Huddersfield Giants was a surreal day all round – Luke Gale

IT IS great to be back playing again and there is a lot to talk about this week – taking a knee, the result and performance against Huddersfield, James Donaldson’s injury and what it was like playing behind closed doors.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 6:01 am
Luke Gale takes a knee before Leeds Rhinos' clash with Huddersfield Giants on Sunday. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

As a squad, in the week leading up to this week’s game we discussed taking a knee before kick off and we said we were going to do that and be united and support the Black Lives Matters movement.

All the boys were happy to do that, which – as captain – I was proud of as well.

I think it was quite important we did.

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There is no place for racism in society or in rugby league and we are happy to support the movement and work with them.

It was entirely a decision by the squad, no-one put any pressure on us.

We had a chat, discussed it and all the boys were happy to support it, so that’s what we did.

There was no external pressure from anyone, it was all entirely off our own backs.

An empty Emerald Headingley hosts Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

As for the game itself, apparently last week was only the second time Leeds have ever come from 20 points down to win a match, so it’s something we’ll remember for a while.

It was a tremendous effort and a crazy game to be involved in.

We probably played the new rules as badly as we could do and on the flip side Huddersfield were really good and played it perfectly for 60 minutes.

Then the game completely turned on its head and we managed to claw it back, but you would not want to get in those positions too often.

Luke Gale starts the Leeds Rhinos fightback against Huddersfield Giants with his second-half try. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

I think it will be a great learning curve in terms of how to play the new rules and we learned a lot from Huddersfield as well, how they played for 60 minutes.

There’s things to work on, but we were happy to come away with the two points.

One thing is for sure, we can’t afford to go 20 points behind against Saints this week.

I thought they looked great in their game.

It was a really professional performance, we know we have to improve this week and I think we will do so.

The down side to it was Donno’s injury.

I went to see him on Monday and I really feel for him on a personal note, but he has faced adversity before and come back strongly and I am sure he will again.

The really sad thing is he has probably got himself in the best shape of his career, he’s the fittest and strongest he has ever been and to get injured in the first game back is a tough pill to swallow. I am gutted for him.

A fracture in his back probably sounds worse than it is, even though anything to do with your back is not nice.

His determination is one of the best I have ever come across in rugby league and I know he will bounce back fitter, better and stronger.

Last Sunday was a strange day all round, with being in the away changing rooms, some new protocols to follow and no crowd.

Things like temperature checks aren’t a problem, we are used to that every day now, but being honest, playing behind closed doors was a bit tougher than I thought.

I didn’t give it a second’s thought before the game; I didn’t think it would be too weird, but it was quite strange and had a bigger effect than I expected.

It is the exact same for both teams so they will probably have been saying the same, but I noticed it a lot more than I thought I would do.

I noticed it the most when we went out to warm up; that was really quite surreal, but it is going to be like this for the foreseeable future so we just have to get used to it.


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Thank you

Laura Collins