Leeds Rhinos' Zane Tetevano speaks about his struggle with Covid ahead of Super League derby against Castleford Tigers

Leeds Rhinos' overseas star Zane Tetevano has spoken of his fight back to fitness after being laid low by coronavirus.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 4:45 pm

The off-season signing is two matches into his comeback, following two months out of action because of Covid.

The Cook Islands and New Zealand forward was the worst affected of the Rhinos players who tested positive for the virus.

The outbreak led to two games being postponed and Tetevano missed another six as he struggled back to full health.

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Zane Tetevano. Picture by Steve Riding.

He made his return in the win at Hull eight days ago, backed up in last Sunday’s last-gasp loss to Warrington Wolves and is in the squad to face Castleford Tigers at Emerald Headingley tonight.

“I am just trying to find my rhythm again,” the former Penrith Panthers powerhouse said.

“I have been out for eight weeks and watching the boys play, they have really set the standard for how we want to be as a middle pack.

“To be fair, I feel like I am a little bit behind the lads, trying to get my rhythm back and fix up all my principles, but other than that it is the best feeling, being out there and playing with the lads and being part of everything again.

“You can get lost a bit in the rehab’ group, you feel a bit distant.

“There’s a lot to work on and I am looking forward to it.”

Tetevano, a supremely fit 30-year-old, admitted the virus was a shock to his system.

“At first I didn’t think too much about it or what it was, I was kind of in denial,” he said.

“When I tested positive, I didn’t really feel anything. I remember saying to one of our staff members ‘can you bring me a watt bike and some gym equipment’.

“When I arrived at home, I thought I was going to smash myself, while I am in isolation I might as well get some training in.

“I did a decent session my first day of Covid and it hit me like a brick.

“That put me in bed for four days, I had almost every symptom you could think of.”

Tetevano admitted at one stage he was considering calling for emergency medical help. He recalled: “It was one of those moments when you realise this stuff is for real.

“You can’t take it for granted and you really have to look after yourself.”

Trying to get back on his feet proved a mistake. He added: “I think it was my fifth day, I felt all right and I said to myself ‘don’t you usually train off sicknesses’?

“That’s what my grandfather once told me - if you feel sick, just run it off.

“That’s what I tried to do and it made me worse, it put me back in bed for five days!

“The more I moved around and tried to get out of bed and keep going, that wasn’t the trick - the trick was just to put the foot on the brake and let it do its course.

“Me being me, I can’t sit still, but I learned my lesson.

“I am still being careful where I am and what I do. I don’t want that Covid thing ever again.”

Tetevano’s last match before his illness was Leeds’ 60-6 win at Castleford, who have since had their own coronavirus outbreak.

They could have up to 10 players back from the illness this evening and Tetevano said: “Cas are a good team.

“Every team are so we can’t take them lightly, but for me personally it is just about worrying about my own backyard and making sure I get my things right.

“We have had a couple of short turnarounds, but we are pretty bang on to be right for Friday.”

Leeds climbed into Betfred Super League’s top-six last week, despite the loss to Warrington and Tetevano reckons they are heading in the right direction.

“We’ve always had belief within the group,” he stated.

“It’s just getting timings right, players coming in and out and different combinations.

“Everyone knows their role in the team and all the young boys have come in and filled in when they are needed.

“Collectively I think everyone has done all right, but the next few games before the finals are pretty crucial.

“I would say we are building nicely, but there’s definitely a lot of work to be put in and we are ripping in at training to get things right.”

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