Leeds Rhinos: Why Zane Tetevano is targeting a better Super League season in 2022

LEEDS RHINOS’ star forward Zane Tetevano is determined to show Betfred Super League what he is really capable of next season.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 6:05 am
Zane Tetevano is eager to get a first full pre-season under his belt with Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Rhinos’ number 13 is entering the second season of a three-year contract and admits he wasn’t happy with his debut campaign at the club.

Tetevano arrived in Leeds only a month before the 2021 season began and was restricted to 14 appearances in a disrupted year.

The Cook Islands and New Zealand international was banned for four games after being sent off in a Challenge Cup tie at St Helens just three weeks into the season.

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Forward Zane Tetevano in action for Leeds Rhinos against Huddersfield Giants last season. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia.

Following his return to the side, he missed six matches after picking up an Achilles injury and being badly hit by coronavirus and was later suspended again for the final three games of the regular season.

By contrast, Tetevano took part in the first on-field training session of this pre-season – last week – and reckons the next few months will stand him in good stead to hit his best form in 2022.

“It is good to be here a lot earlier than I was last year,” Tetevano said.

“Having a pre-season under my belt for the first time over here is going to be new. I don’t know if I’ll go too well in the cold weather, but I’ll find out soon.

Power-packed Leeds Rhinos forward Zane Tetevano tests the Wakefield Trinity defence during the last Super League season. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

“I’ve been checking the weather forecast, but it is what it is; it’s a new challenge and a chance to go again.”

He stressed: “The personal year I had, I wasn’t too happy about it.

“It [the early four-game ban] took my rhythm away, my family didn’t arrive until about six months later and I was kind of all over the shop.

“I felt good coming from Australia to here, I had a full pre-season under my belt training over there, but there were a couple of bad calls on my end, which is partly my fault.

“I intend to be on the footy field most of this season, so fingers crossed.”

Pre-season is a long slog, with almost three months between Rhinos’ first session and their opening Super League game.

But, according to Tetevano, the squad are in high spirits and new backroom staff have brought a fresh approach to preparations.

“After a few weeks on holiday you just want to get back into the routine as quickly as possible,” the loose-forward insisted.

“It’s good to be back, especially with the new guys that have come through and I still feel like I am pretty new too.

“Everyone’s come back in good nick and it’s good to be back among the team.

“We’ve got some new signings which is good for us as well, so I am looking forward to it.

“We’ve got some new staff as well who are adding a little bit extra to our group.”

Tetevano, 31, made his NRL debut for Newcastle Knights 10 years ago and was a Grand Final winner with Sydney Roosters seven years later.

Despite being one of most experienced players in Rhinos’ squad, he admitted: “There were definitely some nerves coming into the first day and week of training. We had a couple of training sessions before we came back in.

“It was good to get away and freshen up, but good to be back as well.”