Leeds Rhinos’ young star Harry Newman is back to his very best
TWO MONTHS into his comeback, Leeds Rhinos’ young star Harry Newman reckons he is getting back to his best.
The centre lit up Newcastle’s St James’ Park with his performance in Rhinos’ dramatic Magic Weekend win over Hull, when he scored a powerful try, provided the final pass for another and charged down an attempted drop goal in extra-time.
That was Newman’s 10th game since returning in July from a double leg-break last September.
National coach Shaun Wane underlined his faith in Newman by including him in the England elite squad during his 10-month layoff and the 21-year-old is regarded throughout Betfred Super League as one of the competition’s brightest young talents.
He faces another huge challenge on Friday, when Rhinos visit defending champions St Helens, but is approaching that game in a confident mood.
“I think that was probably my best [performance] since I’ve been back from my leg break,” Newman said of his contribution to the crucial golden-point win over Hull.
“I feel in that game I was probably as good as I’ve ever been in a Leeds shirt and it’s just about building on that and being consistent.”
Newman’s 10 games have come in less than two months and so many fixtures in a short space of time has made it tough. “I think with the amount of games we’re playing, it is hard every week to be 100 per cent,” he said.
“Some of the boys have said we’ve played three or four ‘Easter weekends’ this year and it’s hard to expect players to be 100 per cent having four- or five-day turnarounds.
“It is a difficult game and you need time to recover.
“Saturday was my best game since being back, but for me now it’s about being consistent.
“We’ve got longer turnarounds to our next game and that should help.”
Rhinos are fifth in the table and in high spirits after the success against Hull.
“It was a good game to be involved in and obviously we came away on the right side of it,” Newman reflected.
“If we had lost it would have been gutting, I am sure that‘s how they feel, but I thought we managed the last period of the game really well.
“We never went in our shells, even when it was 24-all we stuck with what we knew, carried on playing and I reckon that’s what got us through in the end.
“Coming into the back end of the year, I think that will hold us in good stead.
“It was a big game, we needed to win it and it puts us in a good spot going into these final two.”
Rhinos need one more win to secure a top-six finish and qualification for the play-offs.
They are at home to Hull KR, who are seventh, in their final game of the regular campaign a week after playing Saints.
“We have got two tough games coming up, but we are going for two wins,” Newman said.
“We will be putting everything into both games and we still believe we can finish fourth and get a home game in the play-offs.
“It depends on other results, but we’re just focusing on ourselves and what we need to do.”
An under-strength Leeds side gave Saints a scare at TW Stadium in a Betfred Challenge Cup tie five months ago and Newman stressed: “We’ve just got to go there and play well.
“Obviously, they are a very good team and they’ve been consistent for three years.
“We haven’t beaten them for a while, but if we play well and do what we do well, there’s no reason why we can’t come away with a win, especially with the team spirit we’ve got at the minute.”
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