Leeds Rhinos: Ablett sets sights on seven-day recovery

Carl Ablett.
Carl Ablett.
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ENGLAND FORWARD Carl Ablett is hoping to make his 200th Leeds Rhinos appearance this week.

Ablett is undergoing treatment after twisting a knee in the first half of Rhinos’ 12-12 draw at Huddersfield Giants three days ago.

That was his 162nd start for the club and with 37 games as a substitute also under his belt, he is on the verge of a major milestone – which could come at home to Widnes Vikings on Friday.

“I took a bang on the knee, it is a bit of a medial ligament injury,” Ablett confirmed. “I will be seeing the physios and we’ve got a seven-day turnaround, so I will look after it and hopefully I will be all right.

“I carried on with it, so I am not too bad. It was just one of those where I couldn’t get my leg out of the way, I had a few players on top of me and it just folded underneath me. I was a bit sore, but that goes out of the window when you’re involved in the game. I just wanted to stay involved and I am sure I will be fine.”

Of the prospect of his double century, Ablett said: “Two hundred games for Leeds is quite an achievement. It is something I am proud of, but at the end of the day it is just another game that we want two points from.

“It is probably something I will look back on when I have finished. Those milestones are nice, but we are into the swing of the season now, every week you are getting over a game and preparing for the next one, so it is just another two points up for grabs and hopefully we can get that.”

Despite ending a five-game losing sequence against Huddersfield, Ablett felt it was a disappointing performance from Leeds. He said: “It was quite a big game and I think in the first half Huddersfield dominated field position and the ruck area – the collisions.

“A few choice words were said at half-time, because we needed a bit of a kick-start. I thought we competed a bit better in the second half, but there’s plenty to work on.

“We will be back to it this week, we’ll have a good look at the video and we know we need to be better. The good thing is we got a point. If we look through it there was some good stuff there, but we know there’s plenty more to come.

“It was a good test for us and it will stand us in good stead for the games coming up. The composure in our team is pretty good, we have been in a lot of big games and we know how to close a game out.

“In the last few minutes we had a few opportunities for drop goals which we didn’t manage to take, but we will learn from that. Being in these big games is all good experience and it will stand us in good stead.”

Rhinos were under the cosh for much of Friday’s game, but conceded only two tries and Ablett added: “They can play – they have got some good strike players and they move the ball well.

“With the field position they had, to only concede two tries was pretty pleasing. But the less you defend on your tryline the more chance you have of winning. You can’t invite teams into your territory and let teams get a roll on like we did and you can’t rely on that goalline defence too much.

“We have got to manage games a bit better, but that’s all part of the learning curve. We will have a look at the video and hopefully we will be better against an in-form Widnes side on Friday.

“We will have to be. They have won three from three, I watched them against Salford on Thursday night and they are playing well. They play well with the ball and they are defending well, so it is going to be a big test.

“But I think the way the league is now you don’t get many easy games. They will be coming to us full of confidence and looking to put in a performance, so it is up to us to be good – but it will be good to be back in front of our own crowd.”

Three of Rhinos’ four games so far have been away from home, but they are now facing back-to-back fixtures at Headingley Carnegie and Ablett said: “It feels like a few weeks since we’ve been at home.

“It will be good to get back there and hopefully we can put a better performance in. The Leeds fans on Friday were fantastic. I remember one goalline drop out and they lifted and started singing and when they get behind you it makes a difference.

“It gives you that extra few per cent and a bit more energy that sometimes you are lacking after a tough set.

“It was a massive effort from all the fans and it’s just unfortunate we didn’t manage to get them a win in the end.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos Under-19s were beaten 44-26 by Giants’ academy at Huddersfield YMCA.

Ash Handley scored a brace of tries for Rhinos, Ashton Golding, Jordan Harper and Robbie Mulhern got the others and Ben White kicked three goals.

Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe'4th May 2018.

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