LEEDS RHINOS have been playing their cards close to their chest ahead of today’s derby at Featherstone Rovers in the First Utility Qualifiers.
Luke Briscoe – whose brother Tom will be in the visitors’ line-up – is one of three Rhinos players on loan at Rovers, along with Jordan Baldwinson and Josh Walters.
And Rhinos’ management have ensured they won’t be able to provide any inside knowledge in the build-up to what is a must-win game for the Super League club.
“I’ve been barred this week from Leeds,” Luke revealed. “We’re not allowed in. They are planning game plans against us and it would be a bit awkward for us, them doing that with us sat right next to them. They just told us to stay with Fev this week and go from there.”
Luke played three Super League games for Rhinos in 2014 before moving to Hunslet Hawks.
Serious knee damage put him out of action for much of last season, but Rhinos’ medical staff helped with his recovery and he was re-signed during this year’s injury crisis.
The 22-year-old made seven appearances before joining Rovers, initially on dual-registration.
He knows what makes Rhinos tick, but said he hasn’t been asked to provide any tips to Rovers’ players and coaches this week.
“We do video and that’s all you can tip up on really,” he said. “Everyone obviously watches Leeds and knows their players and what they do.”
Luke admitted it was “a bit of a shock” when he was told he would be allowed to play for Rovers against Leeds – and Tom.
“I’ve played with him before, but not against each other,” he said.
“It’s always good to battle against each other and see who comes out strongest.
“We should be straight opposite each other as well – me on the left, him on the right.
“Our parents will love it. Obviously they like us playing in the same team, but it’s a battle against each other now and plenty to battle for.”
And Luke reckons being the younger, by four years, could give him the upper hand this afternoon.
He said: “Going through childhood as the younger brother you get those little battles going off.
“It might bring me out on top this weekend! It’s a great opportunity. It has been a lifetime goal for me to play against my older brother.
“Hopefully I’ll put a good performance in and get the win.”
Rovers went into the final three games of the regular Kingstone Press Championship season needing to win them all to snatch fourth spot and the last place in the Qualifiers.
Victories away to Batley Bulldogs and Halifax and then a 20-0 home success against Bradford Bulls got the job done and created huge local interest. A record summer-era crowd is expected at Big Fellas Stadium today and Luke predicted: “It will be packed out.
“Featherstone itself – the town centre – will be empty and they’ll all be in here cheering on Fev. It should be a good atmosphere.”