THERE’S GOING to be a few emotions on show at Headingley tonight – disappointment we haven’t had a better year, hopefully a bit of relief if we get the job done and confirm our Super League place and sadness that three of the boys are leaving.
Ryan Hall, Joel Moon and Jimmy Keinhorst have been a vital part of what we’ve achieved during my time at the club, especially in 2016 and 2017.
Jimmy might get overshadowed a bit by the other two, but he has been brilliant for us.
He was a bit of a traveller in his younger days, playing abroad and coming from rugby union and I think he has gone under the radar a bit.
People probably don’t realise just how good he is, but he is rock solid in defence and he scores a lot of tries.
He is really consistent, he doesn’t grab the headlines, but he is always there, he never lets anybody down and he is one of those players you want alongside you on the field.
He was the fans’ player of the year in 2016, when we had a really tough season and that says a lot about him. When it’s tough he steps forward and does a job.
Everybody knows how good Hally is. He has done what a lot of NRL players do, in reverse. Often they get to their late-20s or early-30s and then decide to try their hand over here.
He is going to a top NRL club, who could be the champions in a couple of days’ time, at 30.
For the Roosters to sign an English player at that age tells you everything about how good he is and how much he is respected in the game, at Australia as well as over here.
We’re all sorry to lose him, but it’s a testament to the club who have made him what he is. He has been huge for the Rhinos over the years and when he’s successful in the NRL it will be a good advert for the club and Super League.
Moony is leaving in different circumstances because he is hanging his boots up. I don’t know if that was a hard decision, but we will definitely miss him.
He could certainly play on for a few more years, but he has decided it’s time to put his family first and do something different. Having played with him week-in and week-out, I know what a great character he is and how outstanding he has been as a player for us, especially in 2015 and last year when he was thrown in at the deep end at six.
He did a great job helping Magsy guide the team around the field and there’s not many players who can go from being a world-class centre to a Grand Final-winning stand-off.
He is an instinctive rugby player and people like that don’t come along very often.
Regardless of how this season has gone, or how it finishes, tonight is chance to pay respects to three guys who have put their heart and soul into the club. They are all top blokes as well. Hopefully they will leave with us safe in Super League for next year.
It’s an interesting situation in the middle-eights with six teams still in with a shot and we have got a lot to play for.
It is a game we really want to win. As well as sending the boys off on a good note we want to finish top of the table and a really big thing for us is giving the fans something to cheer about.
It has been a long year and a disappointing one, but the supporters have been there every week, they’ve always had our back and we really appreciate what they’ve done.
Headingley on a Friday night is always special, it’s a big occasion with it being the first time we’ve played Toronto and they need a win to keep their promotion push on track, but if we finish top with four straight wins it will give us something to build on for next year.
There’s a lot of work to be done and we know we have to be a lot better than we have been this season, but we finished 2016 on a good note with a bit of momentum and that paid off the next year and hopefully it’ll be the same again.