Leeds Rhinos: Briscoe buzzing at succesful return against Wigan

Tom Briscoe, left, congratulates Kallum Watkins on his try against Wigan.
Tom Briscoe, left, congratulates Kallum Watkins on his try against Wigan.
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FIT-AGAIN WINGER Tom Briscoe hopes all his bad luck with injuries has been used up.

Briscoe made only the fifth appearance of a frustrating season when he returned on the right-wing in Leeds Rhinos’ 
18-16 win over Wigan Warriors three days ago.

The former Hull and England man missed the early part of last year due to a shoulder injury and the jinx struck again in this season’s round two defeat at Widnes Vikings, when he suffered damage to an ankle.

He was sidelined for five matches, but made a comeback at Easter only to rejoin the casualty list after injuring a shoulder in the home loss to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Last Friday was the first time he has featured in a winning team this term and Briscoe is now hoping to string a run of appearances together.

“I think over the last two years I’ve had enough injuries to last me a lifetime,” Briscoe said. “It was good to get this [Friday’s] game out of the way and I’ve got a bit of confidence from it.

“I’m good, just glad to get through the game unscathed.

“My shoulder came through it fine, so that’s the main thing.

“After so long out, with such a big injury that’s carried on for so long, there was bound to be a bit of hesitation.

“But I tried to get in there as soon as I could get my first carry.

“That took it all away. I felt strong and solid in that and I settled down after that carry and tried to do what I do.”

Briscoe played the full 80 minutes of what was one of Leeds’ most draining games of the year.

“In the first 10 minutes I don’t think there was a break and I was out of my feet,” he admitted.

“But I managed to get through it. It is one game under my belt and I’ll be better for that.”

It has been a tough few months for Briscoe, who admitted it was hard having to watch from the sidelines when Leeds were struggling on the field.

“I suppose I have had a lot of practice over the last few years,” said the 2015 Lance Todd Trophy winner.

“It has been hard, it is very hard to watch – especially where we’ve been and the dark places the team has been in.

“Not being able to give my bit for the team, it’s tough, but it is part of the game.

“Obviously this season we have had numerous injuries and it’s what happens sometimes.”

Last Friday’s win was Rhinos’ final meeting this year with one of Super League’s big guns.

They complete the weekly rounds away to Hull KR on Thursday and will then be into the Qualifiers, against the other teams in the elite league’s bottom-four, plus the leading quartet from the Kingstone Press Championship.

Leeds have won four of their last five matches and beaten the top two in successive weeks, following their 20-15 success at Hull.

“The last two weeks, we have shown what sort of team we could be,” Briscoe said.

“Obviously it’s too little, too late for the Super-8s, but looking ahead it has built a lot of confidence leading into the Qualifiers.

“We need to put some good performance in in order to finish the season on a high and have a bit of confidence going into pre-season and next season.”

Ironically, Briscoe was replaced on the right-wing for five games of his lay-off by younger brother Luke, who Leeds re-signed during their injury crisis.

“He did really well,” Tom said. “He has been a bit unfortunate with injuries over the last couple of years and not had that much game time in order to progress in his career.

“I think the more exposure he gets to this level, the better he will become.

“I think he showed up well and did himself proud in the games he played.

“He can look on that, build on it and take confidence from that.”

Meanwhile, Leeds Rhinos under-19s survived a second half scare to win 36-30 at City of Hull.

Tommy Brierley and Jack Walker both bagged a brace, Harry Boyes and Sam Hallas also crossed and Joe Sanderson kicked six goals for Rhinos, who led 30-12 at half-time.