Leeds Rhinos’ win over Toulouse was a reward for all the hard work – Kruise Leeming

IT HAS been an eventful week at the Rhinos and it is nice to be writing this after a win.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 5:41 pm

I think it has been coming and the result against Toulouse feels like a reward for the hard work we’ve been putting in over the last few weeks.

We know we are not the finished product and there’s a lot to work on.

We are still a long way from where we want to be and we aren’t getting carried away, but it was good to get that winning feeling again and we’re looking to back it up against Hull KR, who are in very good form, on Friday.

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Kruise Leeming was pleased to see Zak Hardaker join the Rhinos’ today. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

If we win that game, we’ll be starting to build some momentum and then who knows what might happen?

The way the table is at the minute, if you get two or three wins it catapults you into the top six and that is what we are aiming for.

I don’t know exactly when Rohan Smith will arrive at the club, but I am looking forward to working with our new coach.

A few of the boys have played under him in the past, either when he was at Bradford or in Australia, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about him.

Leeds Rhinos' Zane Tetevano is back from ssuspension. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

He has been in touch with me and it will be good to meet him in person.

He comes across as a good bloke, he’ll bring in new ideas and a fresh approach and it’s an exciting time for the club.

We could also have a new player in the team for Friday.

Zak Hardaker is a quality addition to the squad and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.

Leeds Rhinos' James Bentley also returns from suspension against Hull KR. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

I have had contact with him at England and played with him against France last year.

I spent a week or two with him in camp and got on really well with him and everyone knows what a good player he is.

With Tommy Briscoe getting injured last week, on top of all the other outside-backs we’ve got missing, having him in the 17 will be a massive boost for us.

We’ve got full-backs, centres and wingers missing and Zak can play in all those positions so the club have done well to bring him in.

Quality players, nine times out of 10, can play more than one position and I have no doubt Zak will add a lot of value to our team and be really good for us. With the injuries and suspensions we’ve got at the moment, just about everyone is having to switch around and play a few different positions at times.

I have been back at half for the best part of two games now, which feels a bit like deja vu from last year.

We are in similar circumstances this season with so many players unavailable but, if it helps the team, I will play anywhere and I think that’s the mentality most of us have got. A lot of us have been shuffled about and that is not ideal. Everybody wants to play in their preferred position, but the team comes first and I am enjoying it.

Playing in the halves is another string to my bow and I think it’s good for me.

Injuries seem to keep on coming, but it was good to get through last Friday’s game with no sin-binnings or suspensions, which is a step forward.

We’ll have James Bentley and Zane Tetevano available after this week and I think a two-week break until our next game, at Salford, will be good for us.

It will give Rohan Smith a bit of time to get to know everyone and for us as players to find out what he is all about, plus I think we should also have quite a few lads back from injury.

It would be nice to go into the break on the back of a win rather than dwelling on a loss, so we’ll be going all out on Friday to do that.

It has been a tough few weeks, especially over the Easter period, so the timing is right. We will still be training, but it will be a good opportunity to freshen up, physically and mentally.

Finally, congratulations to the Rhinos women for reaching their Challenge Cup final at Elland Road.

It’s a fantastic achievement by them and we will be following that closely as a team.

Brad Dwyer presented their shirts ahead of the semi-final and we have a family, one-club ethos at Leeds so we will be rooting for them and I am sure they will get the job done.